The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) has launched the country’s first ever IT industry census. This announcement was made at the 4th Roundtable IT Industry Conference in Lahore on April 6.
In the first phase, data will be collected from more than 5,000 freelancers, 3,000 IT companies, 2,500 partnerships and sole proprietorships, and 750 startups.
In his keynote address at the conference, PITB chairman Dr. Umar Saif said the census would prove a milestone for the IT sector as it would make available reliable and verifiable data for policy making, ending the need for projections.
The participants of the conference were also apprised that a National Entrepreneurs’ Network (NEN) would soon be launched in the country. A press statement issued by the PITB said that the network would provide a forum to incubators, accelerators and venture capitalist firms across the country to work together for promotion of information technology (IT) sector. The network would serve as a collective voice of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, it said. Under the NEN project, the PITB has already partnered with the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) to facilitate startups in raising investment from the market.
Elaborating on the first ever IT policy draft prepared by the PITB, Dr. Saif said it had been forwarded to the Planning and Development Department. He said the draft would soon be tabled in the provincial cabinet. The policy is expected to be approved by the cabinet in four to six weeks, he added.
Further, the establishment of five dedicated IT advisory committees was also announced at the conference. These committees will help formalize the role of industry, academia and other stakeholders in policy making. These committees are: IT Census Committee, Industry–Government Liaison Committee, Academia–Government Liaison Committee, Digital Advocacy Taskforce, and Human Resource and Capacity Building Committee.
The participants of the conference included chief executive officers (CEO) of 120 leading IT firms including Asif Peer from Systems Limited, Salim Ghauri from Netsol, Imran Mohiuddin from NexDegree and Faisal Shuja Khan from Ovex Technologies. Vice chancellors of the University of Engineering and Technology and Lahore College for Women University and the executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation were also present on the occasion.