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ISLAMABAD: Multinational information technology companies, on Wednesday, raised major issues with the government they are facing in the country including taxes and profit repatriation.

This was revealed by a senior official of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications after a meeting held between representatives of multinational companies with Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque.

The multinational companies whose representatives met with the IT minister included Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, VM ware, Teradata, Huawei, S&P Global Pakistan, Amazon Web Services, and SAP Middle East and North Africa.

Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput and MD Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) Osman Nasir were also present in the meeting.

Matters about information technology, connectivity, IT exports and investment opportunities in IT and Telecom sector Pakistan were discussed during the meeting. The representatives of multinational companies apprised the federal minister for IT about their respective companies’ issues and reservations.

Sources revealed that the companies complained about different slabs of sales tax in different provinces.

They further said that they face different kinds of issues from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and rules while repatriation of their profits.

They also complained about lack of knowledge of the FBR officials regarding IT sector, which results in complications for them.

They said that Pakistan’s IT sector exports was 46 percent in 2020-21, while it witnessed nominal growth in other countries due to Covid.

If Pakistan government solves their problems, the country’s exports could increase manifold.

They also complained about the PPRA rules in meeting government vision of Digital Pakistan.

It was agreed that a review meeting with multinational companies will be convened after every three months.

Addressing the meeting, Federal Minister for IT Syed Aminul Haque said great opportunities for business and investment are present in Pakistan for multinational companies.

Pakistan is situated in best time zone for IT and software companies’ business.

Multinational companies can create employment opportunities for Pakistani youth, he added.

He said that the government is giving incentives and tax exemption to foreign investors.

He also asked multinational companies to point hurdles in the way of the promotion of their businesses besides giving recommendations.

The federal minister also urged multinational companies to start research and development process, adding that it is vital to give state-of-the-art technological training to Pakistani youth.

Senior officers of the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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