Pakistan's Quarterly Tech Exports Have Jumped Over 6-Fold Since 2010
Pakistan's quarterly technology exports reached $635 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year 2021-22, up more than 6 times since the first quarter of fiscal year 2009-10. The nation's overall quarterly merchandise exports have been relatively flat at about $6 billion average during this period.
|Pakistan's Tech Exports 2010-2021. Source: Arif Habib|
Monthly technology exports soared 36% YoY to $ 215 million in September, 2021 from $158 million in the same month last year. During 1QFY22, technology recorded exports of worth $ 635 million (40% of overall services’ exports), up by 43% YoY.
|Recent Tech Exports FY 2021-22. Source: Arif Habib.|
|Overall Monthly Exports 2007 to 2021|
|Pakistan Tech Exports. Source: Arif Habib Ltd.|
Imports grew 23.2%, much faster than exports as the economy recovered from the COVID-induced slump, widening the trade gap in the process. Energy demand drove imports of oil and gas to new highs.
|Pakistan Current Account Balance. Source: Arif Habib Ltd.|
During the last two fiscal years, Karachi has accounted for 51% of Pakistan’s exports, Lahore came in 2nd with 18%, Faisalabad 3rd with 12% and Sialkot 4th with 8.5%.
|Pakistan's Exports by Cities. Source: FBR|
Record inflow of nearly $30 billion in remittances from overseas Pakistanis helped reduce the current account deficit to $1.85 billion in FY 2020-21. It's down 58.4% from $4.45 billion in FY 2019-20.
Overseas Pakistanis' remittances represent 10% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). This money helps the nation cope with its perennial current account deficits. It also provides a lifeline for millions of Pakistani families who use the money to pay for food, education, healthcare and housing. This results in an increase in stimulus spending that has a multiplier effect in terms of employment in service industries ranging from retail sales to restaurants and entertainment.
Over 10 million Pakistanis are currently working/living overseas, according to the Bureau of Emigration. Before the COVID19 pandemic hit in 2020, more than 600,000 Pakistanis left the country to work overseas in 2019. The average yearly outflow of Pakistani workers to OECD countries (mainly UK and US) and the Middle East has been over half a million in the last decade.
South Asia Investor Review
Soaring Prices of LNG Imports Threaten Pakistan's Economic Recovery
Declining Investment Hurting Pakistan's Economic Growth
Brief History of Pakistan Economy
Can Pakistan Avoid Recurring IMF Bailouts?
Unprecedented Boom in Pakistan Tech Sector
CPEC Financing: Is China Ripping Off Pakistan?
Information Tech Jobs Moving From India to Pakistan
Pakistan is 5th Largest Motorcycle Market
"Failed State" Pakistan Saw 22% Growth in Per Capita Income in Last 5 Years
CPEC Transforming Pakistan
Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry Boom
Home Appliance Ownership in Pakistani Households
Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel
PakAlumni Social Network
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday reported that with inflows of $2.7bn in September, workers’ remittances continued their strong momentum and remaining above $2bn since June 2020.
“This is the 7th consecutive month when inflows recorded around $2.7bn on average,” said the SBP. In terms of growth, remittances increased by 17pc in September compared to the same month last year, while comparing with August inflows it was 0.5pc higher.
The surging imports in 1QFY22 widened the trade deficit putting immense pressure on the rupee-dollar exchange rate which ultimately reflected in higher current account deficit. The situation for the economic managers is not comfortable except the higher remittance supported the economy beyond imagination.
The country had received record remittances of $29.4bn in FY21 which helped it curtail the current account deficit.
“The proactive policy measures by the government and SBP to incentivise the use of formal channels, curtailed crossborder travel in the face of Covid19, altruistic transfers to Pakistan amid the pandemic, and orderly foreign exchange market conditions have positively contributed towards the sustained improvement in remittance inflows since last year,” the central bank said in statement.
The highest remittances were received from Saudi Arabia but they were 2.6pc less than the same period of last year. During July-September 2021-22 the remittances from Saudi Arabia were $2.025bn against $2.080bn last year. The contribution of Saudi Arabia in the total remittances during the first quarter of FY22 was almost 25pc. In September, Pakistan received $691m from the kingdom against $694m in the same month of last year.
The remittance from the United Arab Emirates was second highest as it witnessed a growth of 8.7pc while it amounted to $1.545bn during the first quarter of FY22.
The inflows from UK and USA noted a growth of 13.2pc and 32pc amounting to $1.115bn and $836m respectively. The growth in the first quarter of FY21 was 71.5pc for UK and 63pc for USA.
For the first time, the inflows from EU countries surpassed the total inflows from other GCC countries. The inflows from EU countries rose $889m compared to $880.7 from the GCC countries. The remittances from EU countries increased by 47.8pc compared to the same period of last fiscal year.
Pakistan’s economy recovered in Fiscal Year 2021, in part due to the government’s effective use of targeted lockdowns to manage the spread of COVID-19, while also permitting economic activity to largely continue, according to a new World Bank report released today.
The October 2021 Pakistan Development Update: Reviving Exports shows that the country’s real GDP growth rebounded to 3.5 percent in FY2021, after contracting by 0.5 percent in FY2020 with the onset of the global pandemic. In addition, inflation eased, the fiscal deficit improved to 7.3 percent of GDP, and the current account deficit shrunk to 0.6 percent of GDP – the lowest in a decade.
“With effective micro-lockdowns, record-high remittance inflows and a supportive monetary policy, Pakistan’s economic growth rebounded in FY2021,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “These measures, together with the expansion of the Ehsaas program and support to businesses, were key to strengthening the economy and recovering from the economic fallout associated with COVID-19.”
However, due to strengthened domestic demand, imports have grown much higher than exports in recent months, leading to a large trade deficit. To sustain strong economic growth, Pakistan needs to increase private investment and export more. In examining the country’s persistent trade imbalance, the report identifies key factors that are hindering exports: high effective import tariff rates, limited availability of long-term financing for firms to expand export capacity, inadequate provision of market intelligence services for exporters, and low productivity of Pakistani firms.
“The long-term decline in exports as a share of GDP has implications for the country’s foreign exchange, jobs, and productivity growth. Therefore, confronting core challenges that are necessary for Pakistan to compete in global markets is an imperative for sustainable growth,” said Derek Chen, Senior Economist, World Bank. “Since long-standing issues with the persistent trade gap have resurfaced, this edition of the Pakistan Development Update on “Reviving Exports” provides a timely, in-depth assessment and policy recommendations that can help spur exports.”
The report provides policy recommendations that can help improve Pakistan’s export competitiveness:
Gradually reduce effective rates of protection through a long-term tariff rationalization strategy to encourage exports,
Reallocate export financing away from working capital and into capacity expansion through the Long-Term Financing Facility,
Consolidate market intelligence services by supporting new exporters and evaluating the impact of current interventions to increase their effectiveness,
Design and implement a long-term strategy to upgrade productivity of firms that fosters competition, innovation and maximizes export potential.
The Pakistan Development Update is a companion piece to the South Asia Economic Focus, a twice-a-year World Bank report that examines economic developments and prospects in the region and analyzes policy challenges faced by countries. The Fall 2021 edition titled Shifting Gears: Digitization and Services-Led Development, showed that South Asia’s recovery continues as global demand rebounded and targeted containment measures helped minimize the economic impacts of the recent waves of COVID-19. But the recovery remains fragile and uneven, and most countries remain far from pre-pandemic trend levels.
Pakistan’s exports posted a 17.5 per cent growth in October, rising to $2.471 billion as compared to $2.104 billion in Oct 2020.
"This is the highest-ever export [figure] in any October in our history," a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.
It added that the export target for Oct 2021 was $2.6 billion.
During the July-Oct 2021 period, Pakistan's exports grew by 25pc to $9.468 billion, compared to $7.576 billion during the same period last year. The ministry's target for July-Oct 2021 was $9.6 billion.
Meanwhile, during the Jul-Oct 2021 period, imports rose by 64pc to $24.99 billion as compared to $15.19 billion during the same period in 2020.
"About 40pc of this increase is investment-driven (capital goods, raw material and intermediates), which indicates [an] expansion of industry and enhanced activity by industry," the ministry said.
The remaining 60pc of the imports were made up of petroleum, coal and gas (34pc); vaccines (11pc); food (8pc); consumer goods (2pc); and all others (5pc). "Most of this is inelastic in nature," the commerce ministry noted in its press release.
In absolute terms, the net increase in imports over the four-month period was $9.801 billion. This comprised consumer goods worth $239 million, food $823 million, capital goods $1.620 billion, raw material and intermediates $2.209 billion, petroleum, coal and gas $3.364 billion, vaccines $1.068 billion, and all others $478 million.
Trade deficit rises 109.4pc YoY
According to commerce ministry data, the trade deficit in Oct 2021 rose 109.4pc over the same month last year. It was $1.803 billion in Oct 2020 and more than doubled to $3.775 billion in Oct 2021.
Similarly, the trade deficit in Jul-Oct 2021 stood at $15.525 billion as compared to $7.617 billion during the same period in 2020 — registering an increase of 103.8pc.
KARACHI: Pakistan exported 95,991 tonnes (worth $333 million) meat and meat preparations in FY21 — an all-time high figures — against 83,749 tonnes ($304m) a year ago. However, the average per tonne price (APT) remained low at $3,473 as compared to $3,631 in FY20.
The new fiscal started with a twist as the APT price soared to $4,234 in July-August 2021-22 from $3,444 in the same period in the last fiscal year despite drop in quantity to 11,702 tonnes ($49m) from 14,974 tonnes ($51.5m) in the same period FY21, down by 22pc in quantity and 4pc in value.
Exports have been facing a downward trend from July 2021. As per figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), in July 2021, exports plunged to 5,889 tonnes ($25m) from 8,176 tonnes ($28m) in July 2020. The APT price stood at $4,182 in July 2021 versus $3,465 in July 2020.
In August 2021, exports stood at 6,047 tonnes ($25m) as compared to 6,798 ($23m) in the same month in 2020. The APT went up to $4,213 from $3,418 in the above period.
In the last 10 years, exports hovered in the range of 56,000-85,000 tonnes.
Pakistan’s meat exports have been struggling to compete with the exporters of African countries who have been offering competitive prices for shipments to the Middle East markets than local exporters, Managing Director of PK Livestock Tariq Mehmood Butt said.
However, massive rupee devaluation against the dollar from May 2021 till to date has provided a much breathing space for the exporters, he said. However, high local meat prices have diluted the positive impact of rupee fall against the greenback. One dollar was equal to Rs152 in May 2021 as compared to Rs169 now in the interbank market, Mr Butt added.
He explained that the cattle mandi and quarantine fees were taken by the government, thus pushing up costs and decreasing competitiveness of exportable items.
Pakistan exports 98pc of meat and meat preparations to the ME markets by air. The share of beef is 95pc of total exports; he said adding that Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan are giving a tough time to Pakistani exporters.
Pakistan’s exports of meat and meat preparations are gradually penetrating different countries in terms of volume and value as it recorded a staggering increase of over 100 percent over a decade.
Pakistan’s annual meat exports have doubled over the last decade from $152.4 million in FY11 to $304.2 million in FY20. More recently, in H1-FY21, the export of meat and meat preparations has grown by 3.6 percent to $161.5 million from $155.8 million in H1-FY20, according to a quarterly report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
By the end of 10 months of the current financial year 2022-2021, the exports of meat and meat preparations have surged to $280 million, which is almost nine percent higher than the corresponding period of the last financial year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The exports of the meat sector have had gradual growth over a period of decades, with new markets being opened through market players who are working to comply with the food standards of various exporting countries coupled with bringing advanced machinery and new practices to Pakistan.
The meat exports include raw and frozen beef, mutton, lamb, and chicken. The export of by-products includes casing, bones, horns and hooves, gelatin, etc.
The exports of meat and meat products are largely concentrated to Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain. Export of meat is also increasing to countries such as Hong Kong, Maldives, and Vietnam.
In recent months, Pakistani exporters also received access to lucrative markets like Malaysia and China for the export of beef. The volume of the Malaysian meat market is estimated at $2 billion per annum whereas China’s demand for only beef is huge at $15 billion per year.
The promising rise in the export of meat and meat preparations is an indicator of the pickup in livestock production. The livestock sector represented 60.6 percent of value addition in agriculture and 11.7 percent of the GDP in FY20, and contributed around three percent to the total export earnings; livestock production also engages nearly eight million rural households, making it an important sector in terms of employment outcomes, according to the SBP’s report.
Arif Habib Limited
During Oct’21, technology exports was up 29% YoY to $ 195mn. During 4MFY22, technology recorded exports worth $ 830mn contributing 39% to the overall services’ export and marking a 39% YoY jump.
#Pakistan #Economy #AHL
By Atta-ur-Rahman December 08, 2021
The landscape of higher education changed dramatically between 2002 and 2008 so much so that Pakistan not only caught up with India but also overtook it in the year 2018. This is no small achievement as India had been investing in higher education since its very birth – this includes the visionary policies of Nehru who established the IITs and other good quality higher education institutions in the 1950s and 60s.
The single most important element that determines the quality of higher education is the quality of faculty. For this reason, when the HEC was set up in 2002 under my chairmanship, the highest priority was given to the training and recruitment of high-quality faculty in our universities.
After a rigorous screening process, some 11,000 students were sent to the world’s leading universities, and to attract them back on completion of their doctorate degrees, several important initiatives were introduced. First, a new contractual salary structure was introduced with the salaries of professors several times higher than that of federal ministers in the government. Second, students completing their PhD degrees could apply for research grants of up to $100,000 – one year before completion of their work.
Third, graduates would have jobs on arrival with the HEC paying the salary. Fourth, an excellent digital library was set up that provided free access to 65,000 journals and 25,000 textbooks through the Pakistan Educational Research Network (PERN) that connected all universities with high-speed internet. Fifth, free access to sophisticated instruments was provided. Sixth, grants were made available through a liberal research grants scheme – National Research Projects for Universities (NRPU) – to help young academics to win sizeable research funding. These and other such measures led to a 97.5 percent return rate of scholars.
To control plagiarism, specialised software was introduced, which controlled this problem to a great extent. However, this issue persists – to a small extent – both in India and Pakistan and other countries. According to an article published in 2019 in ‘Nature India’, 980 papers published by top Indian institutions, including those from the IITs, between 2000 and 2017, were fraudulent or plagiarised and had to be retracted. Between 2005 and 2021, 254 publications were also retracted from Pakistan. This is an average of 15 papers per year (about 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent retractions annually).
To promote blended education, a mirror website of the MIT Open Courseware was set up in 2005 when I was the HEC chairman, and many undergraduate computer science courses were downloaded, copied on CDs, and distributed to all universities. An exciting scheme for live distance education was also introduced by us with top professors delivering daily lectures which were listened to live and interactively across Pakistan. A major programme was initiated to attract our highly qualified Pakistan diaspora back to the country.
Some 600 eminent academicians returned and played a valuable role in uplifting the quality of higher education in the country. Split PhD programmes were introduced so that PhD students in Pakistan could do a split PhD with a part of their time being spent in good foreign universities under the supervision of eminent foreign scholars. Pakistan was soon recognised internationally for these efforts, and glowing tributes were paid in numerous articles written by the world’s leading educational authorities as well as by neutral experts of the British Council, World Bank, USAID, and UN. I was conferred the highest prize for institution-building by the World Academy of Sciences (Italy) and by the Austrian and Chinese governments.
Unfortunately, there was a sharp decline in the quality of higher education due to the actions of the former chairman HEC in the last three years which were condemned by 178 out of the 180 vice chancellors of different public and private universities, who participated in a recent event organised in Bhurban.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is interested in the development of science and higher education in Pakistan. This is reflected in several actions of his government to support the efforts of the PM Task Force of Knowledge Economy: First, after years of stagnation, the present government has announced a sizeable increase in the operational budget of universities by a grant of an additional Rs15 billion on top of the Rs66 billion previously allocated – this is an increase of about 23 percent.
Second, after a decade of neglect, the salary structures of the tenure track faculty have been increased by 35 percent for all and by 100 percent for the best faculty members. Third, the Pakistan-Austrian University of Applied Science and Engineering has been established which is the only university in the country (and possibly in the Subcontinent) with 100 percent PhD-level faculty. This university has been developed in collaboration with three Austrian and five Chinese universities – its academic session has already started. Two other such universities are now being set up in Sialkot and Islamabad.
Fourth, a huge scholarship programme of Rs13 billion has again been launched. Fifth, the research grants NRPU initiative that had been dropped by the previous chairman has been given a new life and some 1,200 research grants will be given to young faculty members across Pakistan this year. Sixth, centres of excellence in new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, materials engineering etc are being set up across Pakistan, and 26 projects worth over Rs67 billion have already been approved.
Seventh, the development budget of the Ministry of Science and Technology has now been increased by about 600 percent by the Knowledge Economy Task Force projects after years of stagnation. Eight, IT education is being prioritised. The visionary new policies proposed by the IT/Telecom task force of which I happen to be co-chairman have resulted in a 50 percent growth of IT exports from $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion during the last one year, and a huge revival of the IT industry is underway.
A silent revolution is now finally underway in Pakistan. The credit for this goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan and his whole-hearted support to three important task forces – the Science and Technology Task Force, the IT/Telecom Task Force and the Knowledge Economy Task Force – that are being steered by us.
I have been informed that during the month of Nov 2021, 🇵🇰 Pakistan’s exports had the fastest growth rate in South Asia🔼. Our exports grew by 33.5% compared to 🇧🇩Bangladesh’s 31.3 % and 🇮🇳India’s 26.5% growth.
The Ministry of Commerce has launched the ‘Look Africa campaign’ in search of new unconventional markets and did a lot of work on Central Asian markets, which has resulted in good exports. He said that in addition, new industrial units are being set up to promote product diversification to boost domestic exports in information technology, light engineering including tractors, fisheries and electronics and mobiles.
So far, Country’s exports of non-traditional products, including information technology, have grown by 60 percent in the last four months. Razak Dawood said that the increase in the existing exports was a manifestation of good policy of the present government during Covid -19. He said that like Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), “We also need to strengthen the our regional bloc in South Asian Association fo.r Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and increase bilateral trade activities in the regional countries.”
He said that the government has reduced tariffs and duties on raw materials to zero per cent to increase the country’s exports. These include Textile, Fiber and Jute where tariffs are discounted.
Replying to a question, he said that Pakistan exports to Central Asian Republics (CARs) countries increased to USD $ 145 million in 2020-21 from USD $ 104 million in 2019-20. For six months, from July-December 2021, these exports increased by 173 percent to USD$ 134 million from USD 49 million during the same period last year, he said. The Ministry of Commerce’s ‘Silk Route Reconnect’ initiative is now bearing results, he added.
To increase the trilateral trade Volume with CARs, the Adviser said that the Pakistan-Uzbekistan Transit Trade Agreement was signed in 2021 at Tashkent and both the countries discussed opening banks in each other’s country. “We are negotiating Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan”, adding, transit trade agreements were also being negotiated.
The advisor said that for truck movement, their negotiations were at an advanced stage. Replying to another question on Information Technology exports, he said that there is a lot of scope to increase exports in Information Technology (IT) from non-traditional sectors at present.
The current annual $ 2.5 billion IT exports are very low, “We now have an annual export target of $ 4 billion this year, he said.
Razak Dawood said that there was a need to promote export culture in the country at present and the government wanted to increase exports on priority basis.
He added that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), that use e-Commerce platforms, are around five times more likely to export than those in the traditional economy and the policy aims to pave the way for holistic growth of e-Commerce in the country by creating an enabling environment in which enterprises have equal opportunity to grow steadily. He stressed that the way forward for Pakistan on the economic front is to focus on exports, specifically IT related exports.
While informing about the current export situation, he said that because of prudent economic and trade policy of the government, Pakistan export target of USD $15.125 was achieved in the first half of FY 2021-22 from July-December.
From July-December 2021, Pakistan exports were USD$ 15.125 billion and the target for the first half of the current FY, were USD$ 15 billion, said. Razak Dawood said that Pakistan’s exports during December 2021 increased by 16.7 percent to USD$ 2.761 billion as compared to USD$ 2.366 billion in December 2020, showing an increase of almost USD $400 million.
Grants of up to PKR 20M on offer from USAID for Pakistani companies seeking to export to US and to receive FDI.
During Jun’22, technology exports were up 12% YoY to $ 235mn. During FY22, technology recorded exports worth $ 2.6bn (38% of the overall services’ exports) marking a 24% YoY jump.
Analysts say growth hindered due to government indifference, inconsistent policies
Despite being entirely free from the cumbersome process of acquiring Letters of Credit (LCs) and not being dependent on imports for its raw material, the export volume of the information technology (IT) sector only grew a meagre 5% in November year-on-year (YoY). Analysts are laying the blame for this low number on the government’s indifference towards unconventional export sectors.
Speaking to the Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity, an official from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said, “Globally, IT companies’ exports grow in hundreds and thousands of times, a potential that Pakistan has in abundance but cannot tap into due to inconsistent policies. The cooperation of the finance ministry, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is crucial in this regard.”
“Any suggestion given to them by our ministry, however, is ignored,” said the official, lamenting that, “People in the government do not understand the export potential held by the IT sector.”
According to a Topline Research report by IT Analyst Nasheed Malik, “Pakistan’s IT exports for November 2022 increased by 5% YoY to $233 million due to a 29% jump YoY in telecom services. The exports also increased by 5% month-on-month (MoM) due to a 15% MoM increase in telecom services and 3% MoM in computer services.”
“The latest export number is also above the six-month rolling average of $221 million. Exports, however, are down by 10% from a peak of $260 million recorded in March 2022 but managed to cross the $230 million mark set in June 2022,” said Malik.
However, on a broader level, a slowdown is being witnessed with YoY growth averaging 6% in the last six months (June to November 2022), compared to the average growth of 17% YoY in December to May 2022.
“The IT Ministry has set an export target of $3 billion for FY2023,” said Malik, adding that, “With a current fiscal year monthly average rate of $217 million and a six-month rolling average of $221 million, there are concerns about whether Pakistan will be able to achieve the set target.”
In the five months of FY2023, IT exports are up by 3% YoY to $1.09 billion – the slight growth was witnessed due to a 5% YoY growth in computer services to $864 million.
According to a report conducted by Arif Habib Limited, the SBP’s reserves currently stand at around $6.7 billion, the lowest since January 18, 2019. Including the banks’ reserves of $5.9 billion, the total foreign reserves in the country stand at $12.6 billion – amounting to an import cover of less than one month – 0.99 months to be exact.
ICT Expert Parvez Iftikhar said, “So far, no government has been able to comprehend that the IT sector can help the country earn dollars without incurring any huge expenditures on raw material imports. This just indicates the lack of understanding in the government’s finance management team that decides on taxes and concessions.”
“If we equip our youth, however, with in-demand skill sets, facilitate them with in/out dollar payments, and high-quality internet connectivity, they’re quite capable of doubling the country’s exports within two years,” claimed Iftikhar, adding that the solution “isn’t even out-of-the-box!”
Si Global CEO Noman Ahmed Said told the Express Tribune that, “It is no secret that Pakistan is currently facing one of its worst economic crises yet and whilst the tech sector has consistently outperformed, it is no longer feasible for it to continue doing so at a snail’s pace.”
“Growth has slowed, but the trend still remains positive,” said Khurram Schehzad, CEO of ABCore.