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Umar Saif expresses wish to bring PayPal, stripe payment gateways to Pakistan

  • If the authorities facilitate us, I can increase the IT industry's size from $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion in a couple of months, says caretaker IT minister
Published August 31, 2023

Caretaker Federal Minister for IT & Telecom, and Science & Technology Dr Umar Saif on Thursday said enabling PayPal and stripe payment gateways in Pakistan is a “high priority” for the current setup.

Addressing at the ITCN Asia 2023 ceremony in Karachi on Thursday, the caretaker minister admitted that the government has treated the freelancing community poorly.

“The freelancers cannot easily monetise their skills, there is no PayPal in Pakistan and no stripe payment gateway,” he said. “It should not be hard to convince PayPal for the second-largest online workforce in the world to have access to a payment instrument. Enabling PayPal payment and stripe payment gateways in Pakistan is a very high priority for us,” he said.

The minister said he would meet representatives of the companies (PayPal and stripe).

In February last year, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication announced that PayPal is not coming to the country on account of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) objection, fearing terror financing.

“The remaining customers in Pakistan are not making a business case for PayPal,” said senior officials of the ministry back then.

However, later that year in October, Pakistan was finally removed from the FATF’s ‘increased monitoring list’, also known as the ‘grey-list’.

Saif said the government would come up with a mechanism, where they could register online freelancers. “We would extend the same tax regime of 0.25% to them,” he said.

Addressing the attendees, Saif said that the IT industry can “fix Pakistan trade imbalance”.

“The Achilles heel of our economy is whenever we decide to export, or increase them, we also have to import a lot of stuff. Our traditional industry including textiles also depends on critical import of raw materials

“Thus, the trade imbalance continues to go into a boom and bust cycle. The solution to this is the promotion of service-based industry,” he said.

Saif said Pakistan’s biggest strength is its large, educated, young and tech-savvy population.

The caretaker minister shared the country’s IT sector has become the second largest online worker marketplace in the world. “Pakistan has close to 400,000 online freelancers, who make between $5-10 everyday,” he said.

He said this includes people representing various skilled workers.

Saif admitted that the authorities have made the life of the IT industry exceptionally difficult. “We keep changing our tax regimes, and made it difficult for them to bring funds in Pakistan.

“The IT industry currently officially stands at $2.6 billion a year. However, I can bet that the IT industry currently stands at $3.5 billion, because they are forced to keep a lot of there revenue outside of Pakistan,” he said, blaming it on policies.

“We must make sure that they bring all money back to Pakistan. We will facilitate them so they are able to spend funds without seeking dozens of approvals from the government,” he said.

The caretaker minister that he would meet officials of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday.

“We want to start a conversation on how we can have dollar retention accounts, where you can keep all your money in dollars, and spend it internationally using digital payment modes and accrue interest similar to Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA),” he said.

“If the authorities facilitate us, I can increase the IT industry’s size from $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion in a couple of months,” he said.


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Tariq Qurashi Aug 31, 2023 03:43pm
The Honorable Minister says "If authorities facilitate us....", and he also mentions that the "authorities have made the life of the IT industry exceptionally difficult" , but now Saif Sahib is a Minister himself, and is part of the authorities. I hope he has the political will and influence to insist that all the bottlenecks and bureaucratic hurdles standing in the way of our IT industry are struck down and removed. This is one field in which we have some hope of increased exports. I sincerely wish him the best of luck in his efforts.
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Shahid Khan Aug 31, 2023 04:38pm
How about elections??
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TheActualTruth Aug 31, 2023 08:03pm
The figures that The Honorable Minister mentioned are facts, in fact I would say it can be even more upto 4 Billion USD. Another good thing is that he is talking about couple of months not giving plans like an elected representative of years to come like his other colleagues and our current "Care Taker" PM is doing.
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test Aug 31, 2023 09:12pm
Where there is will there is way. You are authority and incharge of IT, Science & Technology, Telecom ministry. If you need anything i hope the authorities will comply with you and will stand with you. Guide the institutions about the measures and steps you want to take in this regard. I hope they will comply with you given the right impactful steps to bring foreign payment companies to Pakistan. Although I never support foreign assembling plants in my country and also i never support those companies who has assembling plants in Pakistan but since these are payment processors and payment geteway companies which are cruical for business and freelance and IT ecosystem to make payments easily with foreign clients and vice versa. So as i said guide the authorities in the direction you want them in this regard. I would say just do whatever you want to do because at the end the only thing that matter is result of your efforts and whether you succeed or failed at the end that is what matters.
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Haiderali Sep 01, 2023 03:22am
Hi everyone sir and mame how are you I hope you all fine and enjoy and thank you somuch Umar Saif Sir to taking about PayPal in Pakistan and im agree with you .
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Adil Sep 01, 2023 10:41am
“If the authorities facilitate us, I can increase the IT industry’s size from $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion in a couple of months,” he said I am really worried by this statement of IT Minister, who is the SENIOR Most authority for IT in Pakistan and seeking facilitation from Authorities !!!!!! who is the authority Sir ????
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Adil Sep 01, 2023 11:07am
“If the authorities facilitate us, I can increase the IT industry’s size from $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion in a couple of months,” he said The Honorable Minister Sir, you are the authority. Please take it !!! No one will give it, you have to take it ... Please..
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Khan Sep 01, 2023 11:38am
@Adil, Sir U all are Right if u remember when BILL GATE want to make IT park in pakistan ....What our authorities say ( ki wo bacho k jholy wala park bana chaty ha) When our authorities dont know what is IT park how can we develop our self sorry to say... Allaha Hamary hokmarano ko..........
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Khan Sep 01, 2023 11:41am
@abdulrauf akhtar, Bro we are in Moon and they are in paris and enjoy on our paid taxes.....
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Adil Iqbal Sep 01, 2023 01:04pm
The Honorable IT Minister Sb!!! Who is the authority ? Please clarify for the people of Pakistan
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Countryman Sep 01, 2023 06:05pm
Yeah we know your capacity
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Abdullah Sep 02, 2023 08:48am
@Shahid Khan, didnt you have it in 2018 and puppets like imran khan were installed.
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Test Sep 02, 2023 10:57am
@Shahid Khan, Are you mad or what sick of these comments who are commenting where are elections will he announce elections. He is the most least person election will be announced by election commissioner if cec announces date umer saif won't stop him. he is here for sometime
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JANSHER KHAN AFRIDI Sep 03, 2023 05:20pm
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Saeed Oct 02, 2023 12:29pm
@Tariq Qurashi, well said and well analyzed, In routine Ministries' only serves their purposes, do not care for public and national interest. Everybody including ministries, state partners, organizations etc. give examples of China's progress and development of pas decades but unfortunately do not understand how they work. Pakistan's whole infrastructure is imbalance so there are very difficult possibilities for a common man to grow well. I am sure Saif Sahib's rough calculation 2.4b to 3.5 will be a lesser than actual. And I hope Saif Sahib will not only understand its deep economic gain, will also take a real step to go forward. Best of luck freelancers best of luck Pakistan.
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