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IT Minister Eyes PayPal and Stripe to Boost Pakistan’s IT Exports

IT Minister Eyes PayPal and Stripe to Boost Pakistan’s IT Exports

IT Minister Eyes PayPal and Stripe to Boost Pakistan’s IT Exports

Good News for Freelancers regarding PayPal

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  • Caretaker IT minister wants to introduce PayPal and Stripe in Pakistan.
  • He unveiled a roadmap to achieve $10 billion in annual IT exports.
  • He also plans to launch a government-backed fund of funds for startups.

Dr. Umar Saif, the Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, has expressed his desire to introduce online payment systems like PayPal and Stripe to Pakistan.

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Speaking as the chief guest at the 23rd ITCN Asia 2023 event in Karachi, themed “Declaring Pakistan The Regional ICT Hub,” the minister highlighted that Pakistan boasts the world’s second-largest freelancer community, and enabling them with global payment options could potentially boost exports by an additional $2 billion.

He unveiled a strategic roadmap to achieve the ambitious goal of $10 billion in annual exports, focusing on four major dimensions:

  1. Increasing annual IT exports from the current $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion by encouraging IT companies to retain their export earnings in special accounts within Pakistan’s banks instead of offshore offices in other countries. This requires the establishment of special forex accounts and online banking platforms.
  2. Collaborating with the private sector to train 100,000 software developers, could result in a $2 billion per annum increase in exports, raising the export values to $5.5 billion. Various training programs and boot camps will be organized to equip university graduates with in-demand IT skills.
  3. Addressing the employment gap among graduates by creating 5,000 workspaces in different cities for freelancers, as Pakistan currently faces a situation where only a small percentage of graduates are employable.
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  5. Equalizing the tax rate on freelance income to that of the IT industry, set at 0.25%, to facilitate the growing Gig economy in Pakistan.

Dr. Umar Saif also emphasized the importance of introducing a de-risking mechanism for venture capital to encourage investment in startup culture, with plans to launch a government-backed fund of funds with a 30% equity stake.

In the telecom sector, he pledged to enable the launch of 5G technology by auctioning 300 MHz in consultation with stakeholders and doubling the spectrum capacity to meet customer demand.

Furthermore, Dr. Umar Saif called for special financing facilities for mobile phone manufacturers to enhance the production of high-quality mobile handsets.

The event featured prominent figures from the IT and telecom industry, with over 450 organizations participating, including 100 foreign delegates from eight countries.

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It was supported by various government and industry associations and featured exhibitions and conferences on various topics, including cybersecurity, e-commerce, fintech, digital education, and gaming.

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