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Wednesday, April 17, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Govt to introduce standardised test for IT graduates: IT minister

Hopes the IT exports will reach $4 billion after SBP measures for the IT industry
Caretaker IT Minister Umar Saif and Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on October, 25, 2023 - Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News
Caretaker IT Minister Umar Saif and Information Minister Murtaza Solangi addressing a press conference in Islamabad on October, 25, 2023 - Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

Caretaker IT Minister Umar Saif has said the government is planning to introduce a standardised test for IT graduates through the Higher Education Commission to gauge their skills and offer them internships after passing the test.

“Those who pass the test will be given a mandatory internship in the IT industry. Pakistani universities produce around 75,000 IT graduates every year, out of which, only 3,000 are eligible to be employed by IT companies,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday.

He was accompanied by interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi.

He said that the centralised test will be conducted for the IT graduates of all universities. “They will be given internship which will then translate in their job.”

He said that the first such test will be conducted in December, six months before the students complete their bachelor’s programmes.

“In their last semester, they will have to spend 70% of their time in the industry before they graduate. It will polish their skills,” added.

“It is not as if there is no demand for software. Demand is there, however, we lack a skilled workforce despite our varsities producing 75,000 IT graduates every year,” Saif added.

He expressed hope that IT exports will increase to $4 billion after the State Bank of Pakistan allowed the IT companies to retain 50% of their receipts in dollar accounts.

“There are around 19,000 IT companies in Pakistan employing around 150,000 people. These outsourcing companies build and export software and solutions,” he said.

Saif went on to add that the IT companies began parking their export receipts in overseas banks due to the hurdles in creating accounts in the country, and withdrawal issues.

“They would only bring the amount that was needed to meet their expenses. As a result, the industry shows the official figures of $2.6 billion in exports. The actual IT exports of the country are more than the official statistics. According to a conservative estimate, the IT exports are around $4.5 billion,” he added.

To facilitate the industry, the government has allowed the IT companies to retain 50% of their receipts in their dollar accounts and spend it without seeking permission from the banks, the minister said.

He praised the central bank and the Special Investment Facilitation Council for their role in paving the way for facilitating IT companies.

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