LAHORE - Pakistan’s Information Technology sector’s development is likely to get a boost as Punjab Information Technology Boards has announced commencement of first ever nation-wide IT Census.

CM’s Adviser and PITB Chairman Dr Saif announced this initiative on the eve of 4th PITB Roundtable IT Industry Conference. In the first phase, data from more than 3,000 IT companies, 2,500 partnerships and sole proprietorships, 750 startups and more than 5,000 freelancers shall be documented.

Dr Saif said, “IT Census holds high importance for our IT sector by providing reliable and verifiable data to help make accurate projections.” A delegation led by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China soon to include IT sector in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), informed Dr Saif.

He also announced the establishment of IT advisory committees to provide a formal role to the industry, academia and other stakeholders in policy making. Under the umbrella of IT Advisory Committee, five different committees are being setup with agendas including IT Census Committee, Industry – Government Liaison Committee, Academia – Government Liaison Committee, Digital Advocacy Taskforce and Human Resource and Capacity Building committee.

Dr Saif also emphasized on the importance of reducing the digital divide by promoting e-literacy with the establishment of e-Rozgaar training centres in 36 districts, which will train more than 10,000 graduates for online freelancing.

He invited the industry members to contribute in the setting up of the local market place for these freelancers. 4th PITB Roundtable IT Industry Conference also announced to launch National Entrepreneurs Network (NEN) to provide a forum for all leading incubators, accelerators and VC firms to join hands to further promote this fast evolving sector. The NEN will be a national association that will be providing a collective voice to national entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Under the NEN, PITB partnered with Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) to introduce small cap IPO regime for startups to raise investment from the market. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between PITB and Pakistan Stock Exchange to provide a platform for Startups listing for Initial Public Offerings (IPO) for raising investment from the market for those who have funds up to the tune of Rs20 million to Rs200 million.

Around 120 CEOs of leading IT companies and vice chancellors representing the academia, including Systems Limited CEO Asif Peer, Netsol CEO Salim Ghauri, Digital Rights Foundation Executive Director Nighat Dad, Technology Consultants CEO Salman Ansari, Founder and CEO of NexDegree Imran Moinuddin, Ovex Technologies CEO Faisal Shuja Khan, UET VC Dr Fazal Ahmad Khan and LCWU VC Dr Rukhsana Kausar were present on the occasion.