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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has proposed tax exemptions for 10 years for freelancers, facilitate accounts opening and removing double taxation on the overall telecom sector to ensure ease of doing business and boost exports.

This was stated by Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Aminul Haq, while talking to this correspondent here on Tuesday after chairing the first meeting of the Committee on IT Exports Growth. Haque said that the proposals were tabled in the meeting with ultimate focus on achieving the exports target of +ACQ-3.5 billion by the end of the current fiscal year.

The meeting also discussed ease of doing business and steps to increase IT exports. It also focused on facilitating the IT industry and freelancers. The overall crux of the meeting was to increase IT exports.

Secretary IT Dr Sohail Rajput, officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue, the Commerce Ministry, the Board of Investment, and the MD PSEB Osman Nasir were also present.

The minister said that it was proposed to give exemptions from kind of taxes to freelancers for at least 10 years as they are the real assets and playing a vital role in boosting exports and jobs creation.

Haque further said that it was proposed to help in removing double taxation on the telecom sector applicable in some areas. It is hurting business activities and negatively impacting Investment in the sector, as well. The minister further said that the meeting focused on facilitating freelancers in opening banks accounts. He said that the secretary IT was assigned to hold the next meeting with the FBR and the SBP soon in this regard.

The minister said that tax certification was also discussed on which three meetings were already held. The government has targeted to achieve +ACQ-5 billion exports by 2023.

Pakistan has reported its highest IT and Telecom services exports in five months. The ICT export remittances, including telecommunication, computer, and information services, for the period July-November FY2021-22 have surged to +ACQ-1.051 billion at a growth rate of 37.57 percent, compared to +ACQ-764 million during July-November FY 2020-21.

In November 2021, the ICT export remittances were recorded at +ACQ-221 million, fielding a growth rate of 31.55 percent as opposed to +ACQ-168 million reported for the month of November 2020. Furthermore, +ACQ-26 million higher than export remittances were reported during the previous month of October 2021.

The net exports for the period July-November FY2021-22 are +ACQ-797 million, which is 75.83 percent of +ACQ-1.051 billion in exports.

Last year, for the same period, the net exports were +ACQ-554 million, which was 72.51 percent of +ACQ-764 million in exports.

The growth in exports value of the sector is evident that the local and multinational IT companies are delivering a good number of orders to the foreign clients in various countries. Measures of the government to support IT exports are bearing fruit.

Leading IT exporters have planned to boost the exports of the IT sector despite, the challenges of ease of doing business, regulatory barriers, and the shortage of skilled human resources.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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