Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Wednesday approved proposals of the Ministry of Information and Technology and Telecommunications aimed at enhancing I.T. exports and enhancing local for smartphones.
In a statement issued after his meeting with the prime minister, caretaker I.T. Minister Umar Saif said the proposed policy seeks to enhance the country’s digital exports by institutionalizing dollar retention accounts and allowing an easy flow of money through I.T. corporate debit cards. Streamlining of tax issues and training of 200,000 I.T. professionals would add $5 billion to I.T. exports, he added.
According to the minister, the government also wants to bring PayPal, Stripe and Starlink to Pakistan to facilitate freelancers and improve connectivity nationwide. The proposal further calls for establishing co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers to increase their revenue potential by an additional $3 billion per year. Paypal and Stripe are international online payment processing platforms that successive governments have vowed to bring to Pakistan to no avail. Starlink is a satellite network developed by SpaceX aimed at providing low-cost internet to remote regions.
Saif said the interim prime minister had also approved a proposal to launch a government-backed Pakistan Venture Capital Fund to attract top-tier international firms to Pakistan. This, he claimed, would enable $1 billion venture capital investment in startups.
Also among the proposals of the I.T. Ministry is providing incentives for local manufacturing and export of smartphones in Pakistan. It calls for smartphone financing options to allow people to easily buy phones on monthly instalments and enhance local demand.
The I.T. Ministry is further aiming to implement active spectrum sharing, forward-looking taxation policies, regulations and incentives for the telecom industry to prepare for the upcoming 5G auction within 10 months. Saif told the meeting’s participants that Pakistan’s digital exports had the potential to reach $10 billion if all hurdles were duly addressed and removed.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Kakar has directed the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Federal Bureau of Revenue and the Ministry of Energy to cooperate and collaborate with the I.T. Ministry to achieve its goals.