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Drive to promote IT industry of Pakistan in Japan

TOKYO: A Business Seminar was held at the Embassy of Pakistan, which was jointly organized by the Trade Wing of the Embassy, Saffron Group, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and Japan Pakistan Business Cooperation Committee. This was the maiden effort made by the Embassy of Pakistan along with its private sector partners for promoting Pakistan’s Information Technology (IT) industry which is expected to have its export earnings more than the $10-billion within the next five years according to estimates made by Pakistan Software Houses Association, says a press release received here today from Tokyo.

Ambassador Farukh Amil in his key-note speech outlined the positive and important developments taking place in Pakistan to attract foreign investment. The Ambassador shared that Pakistan’s economy was primarily an agrarian one. However, there was no dearth of manpower and labor costs are very economical when compared with other developed and developing countries, leading our economy to transit from agrarian to the services sector with its IT industry among one of the fastest growing sector. The Ambassador highlighted the fact that the IT industry of Pakistan with a growth exceeding 30% a year, the country’s IT sector, from its nascent beginnings in the late 1980s, has come a long way to the point where its value proposition is validated over and over again. The Ambassador stressed that Japanese businessmen should seriously evaluate the immense potential of Pakistan with a history of zero labour disputes with Japanese corporations in addition to its highly disciplined and motivated work force.

Mr. Karou Shraishi, Director General JETRO highlighted the enormous market size, skilled youth population, ease of doing business and investment prospects in various sectors with special focus on IT sector in Pakistan. He underlined increasing interest of the Japanese companies and appreciated the hospitality of Pakistanis towards the Japanese. He dilated at length on his own positive and personal experience of trade and business in Pakistan and urged the participants to look at Pakistan.

Mr. Shingo Shinozaki of Saffron Group explained the audience his experience of visiting Pakistan and how it changed his perception about the country. He shared that the country was full of young talented and skilled people in both manufacturing and services sectors. He also added that the Government of Pakistan was taking a number of steps to attract investors from abroad and stressed the Japanese companies to personally visit before they make any decision.

Mirza Asif Baig of Saffron Group addressed the major concerns which come into Japanese entrepreneur mind when they think of Pakistan and explained how these challenge should be transformed into an opportunity. He shared an interesting fact that the deaths recorded in Pakistan during 2015 in road accidents were more than claimed against terrorism but unfortunately certain quarters of media projects Pakistan as a dangerous country to travel. He urged the Japanese companies to look towards Pakistan in its realistic perspective and not biased by media.

Federal Ombudsman of Pakistan Mr. Salman Farooqi, in his remarks as the Guest of Honour, shared that the history of digitalization of Pakistan started in late 1980s with the cooperation of Japanese companies like NEC Corporation. He informed that the liberal and investment-friendly policies, economic reforms introduced by the present government and phenomenal development in IT & Telecom sector had made Pakistan a lucrative destination for both the foreign and domestic investors. He said Pakistan offered ample opportunities for investment in the IT &Telecom sector and the government believed in growth through Public Private partnership to bring latest technology at par with the world and expect Japanese corporations to play a meaningful role in realizing the vision of Digital Pakistan.

The presentations were followed by an active Q&A session where the participating companies showed an avid interest in the economy of Pakistan and the investment opportunities in the IT sector of Pakistan. In responding to the questions several handouts on investment opportunities in Pakistan, were provided to the participants. A reception was held afterwards where the participants were able to informally communicate and interact with the Federal Ombudsman, Ambassador, the guest speakers and Mr. Shehzad Ahmad Khan the Commercial Counselor. PR