Soi-disant IT Growth in Pakistan

Myths, Manipulations, and Prospects

Attention Economy: We are living in the age of abundance and attention economy. We are progressing to get absolute abundance in almost everything, but time will remain scarce. No matter who you are, everyone has 24 hours a day. No matter who you are, everyone who is living today and even a child who has been born today, most likely will not be living during 2121. The attention economy is directly dependent on time and closely linked with people worth and value (Gross Domestic Product). 

Pakistan is a lower-middle income and developing country. It classifies between frontier and emerging markets. It’s per capita GDP is $1,260 (IMF, 2021), $1,194(World Bank, 2020), and $1,187 (UN, 2019). Or per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) is $5,224 (IMF, 2021), $4,877 (WB, 2020), and $4,690 (CIA, 2019). Bangladesh’s per capita GDP is $2,122 (IMF, 2021), $1,969 (WB, 2020), and $1,846 (UN, 2019). Or per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) is $5,812 (IMF, 2021), $5,083 (WB, 2020), and $4,754 (CIA, 2019). India’s per capita GDP is $2,191 (IMF, 2021), $1,901 (WB, 2020), and $2,116 (UN, 2019). Or per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) is $7,333 (IMF, 2021), $6,454 (WB, 2020), and $6,700 (CIA, 2019). World’s average per capita GDP is $10,926 (WB, 2020), and $11,339 (UN, 2019). Or per capita GDP (at purchasing power parity) is $17,110 (WB, 2020), and $17,500 (CIA, 2017).

The exports, foreign remittances, and foreign reserves of Pakistan rarely touch the $30 billion mark. Pakistan stands at lower ranks in most of the world indices and indicators like Human Development Index, Corruption Perception Index, Democracy Index, Gender Inequality Index, Global Peace Index, Human Poverty Index, Social Progress Index, etc. The researcher of this work investigates the role of record tampering, data manipulation, and intellectual dishonesty as a cause of social, economic, and moral decay.

Digital marketing has successfully claimed a significant portion of the overall marketing industry, social media promotions and other internet-based advertising is potentially a trillion-dollar industry. Marketing, advertising, publicity, PR campaigns, etc. are tools used to aid manipulation, propaganda, illusions, and fallacies. It fuels the attention economy. No matter what, any internet-based marketing platform cannot pay more than what they charge from corporations and governments for their paid or featured content to the influencers or partner distribution websites. No matter what, corporations and governments cannot pay more than what they get in return from prospective end consumers of products, services, or propaganda. No matter what the audience cannot be greater than the total population. The increase in audience and content consumption ultimately leads to decreased and divided revenue. You can start counting all influencers (religious, political, entertainer, educators, etc.) who are earning living from social media platforms, the number will not exceed 4,400 people in Pakistan, it’s 1 in a 50,000 or 0.002% of 220 million. If your counting exceeds 5,000 then it will tell us that the population of Pakistan is more than 250 million. No foreign or profitable entity can pay a single penny without any return, multiplier of their spending, investment. Some countries have an advertising industry of up to 1% of their GDP but for Pakistan, it is just less than 0.2% or under $500 million, it includes all ATL (Above the Line), BTL (Below the Line), and TTL (Through the Line) marketing. The bottom line is, if the end content consumer has no worth or value for the products, services, or propaganda, then there are no prospects of progress. We can progress in products and services, but propaganda reached its peak already. For the aspirants YouTubers, social media influencers, and web distributors, either you can replace existing earners or get your portion by decreasing their share. The sum will remain the same. The net inflow of foreign exchange in this regard will always remain negative because all platforms take their share first.

Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA): P@SHA wrote “The Finance Minister has approved a fund to provide a 5% Cash Reward to IT/ITeS companies against the trade surplus of their exports of products & services from Pakistan.” on their Twitter and Facebook pages. 

World Trade Organization (WTO): WTO can penalize Pakistan for providing such cash rewards under their anti-dumping actions, subsidies and countervailing measures, and safeguards. 

State Bank of Pakistan: SBP export of services data of the last ten years shows that services export remained within the bracket of $5 billion – $06 billion except 2013 when it touched $6.6 only once.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics: PBS export of services data of last ten years also shows that service export remained within the bracket of $5 billion – $06 billion except 2013 when it touched $6.6 only once.

Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB): PSEB only add “9.1.1 Call centers” and “9.2 Computer services” from “Trade in Services” figures by the State Bank of Pakistan to present that as IT exports.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Asia / Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG): FATF/APG already asked for the 06 more action items extra than the earlier 27 points. Pakistan met 26 and was close to full compliance to avoid the “High-Risk Jurisdictions subject to a Call for Action” aka black-list and get out from the “Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring” aka gray-list. Pakistan is implementing FATF’s 40 recommendations to meet international standards. MoITT and its initiatives can damage Pakistan’s struggle to get out from the gray-list, or in the worst-case scenario, it can cause black-listing ourselves. Both SBP and PBS data patterns are showing no overall growth in the exports of services, but MoITT and its institutions are pretending unprecedented growth in the IT exports. MoITT needs to answer these questions:

  1. Why and how is it not re-channeling of other exports, remittances, or money laundering?
  2. Why and how is it not re-classification of other exports, remittances, or money laundering?
  3. Why and how is it not to get cash rewards for other exports, remittances, or money laundering?
  4. Why and how is it not a tax-exempt tactic for other exports or money laundering?
  5. Why and how is it not record tampering, data manipulation, and intellectual dishonesty?

Online Labour Index: According to the Online Labour Index (iLabour Project, Oxford Internet Institute), India is a top workforce provider in the online gig economy with more than 33% share, both Bangladesh(2nd) and Pakistan(3rd) are competing for the second spot with 14% and 13% share respectively. OLI only tracks the headcount of labor, not quality and quantity in terms of revenue percentage. Like the USA(5th) and the UK (4th) with less than 5% headcount each, may have more revenue percentage each compared to all other countries combined. The OLI is largely deceptively misused in MoITT presentations, reports, facts, and figures. OLI only accumulates total registered freelancers for top marketplaces that can be redundant on each other. For example, the top two players Fiverr and Upwork which have the largest registered freelancers each as compared to all others combined as well as have a large chunk of revenue share.

Fiverr: Fiverr has more than 100,000 registered Pakistani freelancers, fake accounts are included, we can account that for the Pakistani accounts registered using VPN. Less than 20,000 Pakistani freelancers have earned more than $1000 in their lifetime. The recent Gross Merchandise Value or GMV of Fiverr is $699.3 million. 100% of $699.3 million will be $699.3 million, but they are paying ~80% or ~$560 million to their whole global online labor.

Upwork: Less than 1,000 Pakistani freelancers have earned more than $10,000 during their lifetime on Upwork. Upwork was a merger of top two players Elance and oDesk in 2013, aiming to achieve annual revenues of $10 billion from annual revenues of $1 billion within 06 years, but the current growth rate suggests, it will achieve half of its goal within a decade instead of 06 years.

 FY 15FY 16FY 17FY 18FY 19FY 20FY 21FY 22FY 23
Actual figures 0.901.151.371.762.092.52
Growth rate 28%19%28%19%21%
Growth at 25%0.901.131.411.762.202.753.434.295.36
UpWork Gross Services Volume (GSV)

* Gross services volume, or GSV, includes both clients spend, and additional fees charged for other services. It is like Gross Merchandise Value or GMV of Fiverr. 

** in billions (USD)

Upwork is still a market leader next to none. You can better understand all prospects now. The so-called freelancing boom has been busted already. Just learn from that.

Virtual University and DigiSkills: Just like other projects and promises of MoITT, Virtual University of Pakistan published more than 60,000 fake degrees, and VU’s DigiSkills conducted more than 1.2 million fake pieces of training.

Please note, the Federal Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Virtual University of Pakistan, is running away from the court of law under writ petition # 399-2020 Tahir Ramzan versus Federation of Pakistan, etc, in the Islamabad High Court from 10-02-2020. This matter is not only about 60,000+ fake degrees, and 1.2+ million fake trainings by VUP but a coordinated effort of tempering records, manipulating data, and intellectual dishonesty in MOITT and its children organizations including the National Information Technology Board and the Pakistan Citizen Portal. In short, anything with the word:

 *e

 *online

 *digital

 *virtual

 *remote

 *computerized

 *artificial intelligence

 *big data

 *data science

 *cloud

 *web

 *mobile app, etc. is a sweet deception tactic to fool not only the general public but the regularity authorities and officials to get funding. It is our third national illusory trust after Mullah and the Military to fool the people of Pakistan.

Almighty Bless the Federation of Pakistan

References:

  1. https://www.un.org/
  2. https://ilabour.oii.ox.ac.uk/
  3. https://investors.fiverr.com/investor-overview/default.aspx
  4. https://investors.upwork.com/
  5. https://www.forbes.com/
  6. https://www.sbp.org.pk/
  7. https://www.pbs.gov.pk/
  8. https://www.wto.org/
  9. https://www.cia.gov/        
  10. https://www.fatf-gafi.org/
  11. http://www.apgml.org/
  12. https://www.imf.org/
  13. https://www.worldbank.org/
  14. https://www.finance.gov.pk/
  15. https://moitt.gov.pk/
  16. https://vu.edu.pk/
  17. https://www.digiskills.pk/
  18. https://ignite.org.pk/
  19. https://www.pasha.org.pk/
  20. https://www.pseb.org.pk/

Free and Open Mobile School System

Dear Friends,

We are discussing the Mobile School Project in detail. There are 22.8 million out-of-school children in Pakistan. More than that, adult women and farmers are illiterate and underprivileged. And when we consider students in schools, the majority is not significantly different or better particularly in STEM subjects. Memorization of facts, figures, names, dates, places, etc takes maximum time which promotes only to rote memory and cramming. Everyone is capable of learning and teaching but not all people have the same memory. Two major reasons behind higher drop out rates are; one weak memory which leads to punishment and embarrassment, and second students who need to earn to support their families; they have not enough time to attend the 06 hours schools. We think that there are two basic subjects; literacy and numeracy. Literacy means someone knows any language that how to read, write, speak, and listen; no matter that language is Englis, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, or any other. It is a settled principle around the globe that pupils can learn faster and easier in their mother tongue and English is a universal language of knowledge. So, it is better to use the mother tongue as an instructional medium, and then English language acquisition is essential to compete with the contemporary world. Numeracy means mathematics and calculus which is the foundation of questioning and reasoning, it helps us in critical thinking, problem-solving, and resource optimization. We can say, there is no magic or miracle but the mathematics behind everything, it is a language of nature, logic, truth, and right. If any student knows how to read, write, speak and listen to any language with conceptual learning of numeracy, he will become a positive and productive participant of any society to claim all his rights with responsibilities. This 02-subject education will raise motivation, common sense, a sense of respect, and a sense of responsibility. It will be a significant step towards socio-economic equality and equity. We are just considering basics and then English language acquisition so any student can take any free Massive Open and Online Courses from the world-renowned academic institutes to learn, grow and excel without any discrimination, barrier, certificate, diploma, or degree. 

According to Professor E. D. Hirsch (Core Knowledge Foundation); all pre-school, kindergarten, primary, secondary and higher school curriculum can be taught within a few hundred hours. Knowledge-based mobile schooling opens doors to enabling playful and interactive learning in a practical environment, which in turn opens doors to productive and responsible citizenship. We endeavor to:

  • Create literate citizens able to contribute to a democratic society.
  • Empower each child to achieve his or her greatest academic potential.
  • Shrink the excellence gap between the academic achievement of out-of-school children and that of their peers from high-performing countries.
  • Shrink the fairness gap between the academic achievement of out-of-school children living in poverty and that of their economically advantaged peers.

Different points to develop the two-subject curriculum:

  • Start from basic numeracy like “counting”, “addition”, “subtraction”, “multiplication”, and “division”.
  • Creation of mathematics modules in GeoGebra for 6th-12th class  
  • Localization and context-aware content.
  • Sustainable and Systematic approach.
  • Open, inclusive, and documented.

Adoption:

  • Small private schools are facing real challenges to compete with the larger groups so we will offer them our content free-of-cost that will become their value-added service and competitive advantage.
  • We will offer our volunteer services to public schools as well.
  • Our content will be open and free with detailed documentation and tutorials so anyone can use, reuse, and contribute.  

We are looking forward to starting a healthy discussion and dialog.

Misuse of “Husan-e-Ihlaaq”: A Productive Tactic to Manipulate

We live in a country where people are less literate about psychology, sociology, media, and marketing. Here, anyone who is a polite, friendly and has a kind attitude can make any lie a truth by pseudo-science.

index

Earlier, in 2015, I was used to teaching Programming and Development in an academy particularly Android and Java. Many students were struggling with their final year projects, they were ready to buy FYPs. (Still, I meet with students who buy FYPs.)

My friends said you can develop and sell FYPs; I replied, it is plagiarism, intellectual dishonesty, and crime. The major sufferers of this will be the students who are stranded enough to pay instead of learning. Students want to learn but they cannot find teachers who are honest, have the talent to deliver skills.

My friends persuaded me if you will not do this, these students will get their projects from someone else because students know nothing how to design and develop so it’s better that you help them to develop FYPs while teaching and learning the process so they will learn something to do something. Students invested their scarce resources in their degrees, and they cannot afford failure, it will affect their mental health and confidence. Failure will embarrass them in front of their family and friends. This is not their mistake but their teachers’ fault.

I am a frank and friendly person so students were very comfortable with me to share a lot of matters, they were used to saying “Sir X” or “Madam Y” did this or that but these “Sir” and “Madam” words were offending me, I used to say to my students that please don’t give respect to those who are responsible to ruin your learnings and future, you paid them to learn and it’s their responsibility to teach you and if they were teaching you then you don’t need to buy FYPs or learn it outside from your university which cost you extra.

They were used to saying that “our teachers are very kind, polite and friendly” but my students were not aware of misuse of “Husan-e-Ihlaaq” to manipulate students so nobody even thinks to question their responsibility and incompetence.

What to do, when there are no one guilty, responsible, accountable and answerable but endless problems?

Allah Almighty Bless the Federation of Pakistan

Interactive Pedagogy and Gamification to educate under-privileged street children, child labor, women and farmers

There are no magic and miracles but there is mathematics behind everything. To compete and progress with contemporary world; critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning are core skills to have, which all are fundamentally based on education of mathematics. The major reason for dropouts in school is boring and lengthy course content and syllabus. The researcher of this paper is proposing a conceptual framework to educate street-child, child-labor, women, and farmers using two courses syllabus; one is literacy (local language, a national language, and/or foreign language) and the second mathematics (problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical reasoning).

The proposed methodology will be one hour per week mobile schools with ICT based interactive pedagogy and gamification. The students will take their lessons and evaluate their performance after biometric attendance backed by incentive(pay) to learn phenomena.

The researcher has a hypothesis that the teaching, learning and remembering of “names”, “places”, “dates”, “facts” and “figures” are useless and major motive to induce withdrawal of pupils particularly under-privileged masses. Most of the things are depending on rote memorization which is causing the behavior that promotes cramming and forgetting rather than life-long learning. If education is focused on literacy and mathematics only then the dropout ratio can be decay exponentially which will ultimately lead to social economic equality due awareness and education for all.

This research work is out of the box solution to eliminate extremism and ensure social economic equality by growing “common sense”, “sense of respect” and “sense of responsibility”. In macro scenario, the researcher is focused to create uniform qualification framework which will provide equivalence to vocational knowledge with academic knowledge. The ultimate goal is to develop mechanism for street children, child labor, women and farmers to get admissions in universities (probably true and pure open universities, where there is no one yet in Pakistan).

Need of Proactive and Precautionary Measures against OneCoin/OneLife Swindle

Abstract: In the recent past, we have witnessed several Ponzi schemes, financial scams, and fraudulent investments at masses with greed to become millionaire and multiply the capital without any work done; have cartographical consequences including life. Double Shah and IDs scandals are classical examples.  What’s next? The OneCoin or OneLife swindle, it is similar Ponzi scheme and fake investment strategy.

Synopsis:

Recently, I have observed a Ponzi scheme and fraudulent investment plan called OneCoin or OneLife which is nothing in terms of computer science, information technology, finance, economics, banking, and investment.

On 31 October, 2008; Satoshi Nakamoto invented and introduced a new innovative payment and reserves exchange medium named Bitcoin based on the underlying technology, BlockChain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which means a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrency is a type of alternative currencies or digital currencies. It has decentralized control which is linked to the use of bitcoin’s blockchain transaction database in the distributed ledger.

Concisely, the Bitcoin have become too much successful and achieved exponential growth from nothing in 2008 to $0.01 in 2010, $1 in 2011 and now in 2017 it’s exchange rate is approximately $1000 per coin.

The scammers have started pretence and are building hypocrisy based on the invention Bitcoin; to cheat, scam, and con innocents people (shamefully who have too much greed to make money in shorter period without any work done), a lack of awareness and education.

The primarily reason of this document; is to inform concerned authorities to take proactive and precautionary measures to prevent and protect common people from financial loses which can lead to life loses too.

The supplementary reason of this document; is to create awareness and serve knowledge about financial frauds and white collar crimes.

This brief document is excerpted from under research and development policy and strategic framework on entrepreneurial economics and issues including but not limited to; financial frauds, revenue hypes, economic bubbles, ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, MLM schemes, confidence schemes, tax avoidance, tax evasion, bribery, insider trading, racketeering, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, digital forgery, and intellectual dishonesty.

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”