How do you find the performance of Infotech Group in year 2011?
Like most organizations within the country, InfoTech also faced challenges in the domestic market in 2011 as political insecurity and lack of decision-making at all tiers coupled with a “wait-and-see approach” definitely hampered growth and impacted sustainability of some segments of the business. However, we as a company had pre-empted this transition several years earlier and started focusing our growth in new and emerging markets in Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
Are you satisfied with the policies and role of the telecom regulatory authority for the development of sector, or what will you suggest for the development of sector?
From our industry’s perspective, we still do not have a minister for IT and Telecom since the last three years and that essentially reflects the lack of support that the government has shown to the industry. In addition, organizations like PSEB have been rendered rudderless as their budgets have been reduced to fulfilling the operational cost which leaves very little or nothing for the development of the industry even if ideas and will to implement exist. So my perception is that the industry needs to “lobby” harder and ensure that the government of the time accepts IT as an industry and focus on its growth as a priority because the industry has the ability to increase its potential for software export five times more than the existing $900m of today.
Do you agree that Pakistan has vast potential to excel in the field of ICT?
I believe we have “under-sold” ICT in Pakistan. And this is with students, public sector understanding and awareness and also benefits to the private sector. The fact that technology is essentially as an “enabler” and can drive companies and organizations into transforming themselves from a paper-base to digital-base as well as establishing systems for improving productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. I believe ICT alone has the capability to generate $5 billion in export earnings each year for Pakistan but we are far from that target.
What is the way-out to develop the strength of ICT sector?
The major constraint is the lack of skills, competencies and attitude towards work. There clearly exists a “gap” in the ICT landscape but unless supply-side academia and demand-side industry don’t plan and provide clear requirements the relevant fulfillment will not take place. Today there are over 10,000 jobs which are yet to be filled sin Pakistan while 10 times that number is “simply not available” in the Middle East and these are skills across a range of competencies. Imagine if we can train and send 100,000 jobs across regions and the multiplier effect starts to generate projects, opportunities and services for Pakistani entities. However, this needs a public-private-academia commitment.
What are your company plans for 2012 in terms of targets?
Currently our international operations contribute a third of our overall revenues but we see them escalating in near future. We expect 2012 to bring us additional business but I anticipate that international contribution would continue to grow while the domestic business will achieve marginal growth.
Any comments for the Technology Times?
Wish Technology Times the best for its annual issue and continued success in future!