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Sunday, 1 January 2012

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Sri Lanka information technology exports surge

Sri Lanka’s earnings from information communications technology (ICT) services and products grew strongly this year after rising sharply last year, officials said. ICT and BPO (business process outsourcing) exports shot 47 percent to 310 million US$ in 2010-11 from the year before and will remain strong, a new survey by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers has found.

The sector has 175 firms employing 16,000 people, which is expected to grow as more foreign investment comes in. Chairman of the Export Development Board, Janaka Ratnayake said.

The growth rate should enable ICT and ITES (information technology enabled services) sector to reach a billion dollars in export earnings before 2015, he told a news conference.

Chairman of the EDB’s advisory committee for the ICT and BPO sectors Mano Sekaram said the PwC survey of 175 firms was needed to find out how the sector was performing.

“This industry is a new industry,” said Sekaram, who is also general secretary of the industry body, SLASSCOM, Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies.

“Transactions take place over the Internet and there’s no customs declaration of exports out of the country because you send software and services over the wire - there’s no physical transaction.”

The PwC survey report stated that the IT export industry earned $250 m while BPOs earned $60 m in 2010-11, up from $161 m and $48 m the year before.

The main markets for ICT exports are Europe, USA, and South Asia while the main markets for BPOs are the US, Europe, Canada and mature Asian countries.

The officials said the industry expects to maintain the growth momentum although economic crises in key markets might reduce growth rates from existing high levels.

However, IT sector export earnings were on track to reach the target of a $ one b by 2015, Ratnayake said.

(LBO)

 

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