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KARACHI: Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif has unveiled a roadmap to achieve the target of $10 billion in annual exports through four major dimensions on Thursday.

Speaking as a chief guest at the 23rd ITCN Asia 2023 “Declaring Pakistan the Regional ICT Hub”, he stated the annual IT export could be increased to $3.5 billion from the present level of $2.6 billion by providing confidence to IT companies to retain their exports income in special accounts of Pakistan banks rather than offshore offices in different countries.

Special forex accounts and online banking platforms are necessary for IT companies to invest in the core infrastructure for purchasing essential software services and hardware equipment, he remarked.

$10bn IT export target: govt unveils its roadmap

The ministry, through a partnership with the private sector, will train 100,000 software developers to enhance the exports by $2 billion per annum, which will translate the export values to $5.5 billion.

In this regard, various training programs and boot camps will be organised to build the capacity of our university graduates in accordance with in-demand skills of the IT industry, he said and added: The training and development will also employ thousands of graduates in the country who will support themselves and their families.

Presently, our higher educational institutes produce 35,000 to 40,000 graduates every year in different disciplines, and merely 10 percent are employable.

Dr Umar Saif further said that Pakistanis are the second largest online workforce community in the world; however, revenues earned by them are reflected in remittances of overseas Pakistanis because of the unavailability of the international payment gateway, Paypal.

The facilitation of freelancers through a global payment gateway and easy account facility will also enhance exports by another $2 billion.

The freelancers are being empowered with training in different skills, but an ecosystem and workstations are equally vital for them to enhance their contribution to exports of IT and IT-enabled services, he stated. Therefore, the government, in collaboration with the private sector, will create space on 5,000 points in different cities for freelancers.

Besides, the tax rate on the income of freelancers is extremely high, which should be equalized to the tax rate of the IT industry at 0.25%.

Hence, the rising trend of the Gig economy could also be facilitated in Pakistan.

Dr Umar Saif further stated that the introduction of a de-risking mechanism for venture capital could bring back the investment trend in startup culture. The ministry is planning to launch a fund of funds with 30% equity of the government.

Regarding the telecom sector, Caretaker Federal Minister vowed the launch of 5G technology will be made possible through the auction of 300 MHz in consultation with all stakeholders. Also, the capacity of the spectrum will also be increased to double from the present level to meet the demand of the customers.

Dr Saif added a special financing facility should be proposed for mobile phone manufacturers to enhance the production of mobile phone handsets with enhanced qualities.

Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan Saleem Ullah, CEO NITB Babar Bhatti, CEO Tech Destination Pakistan Ali Raza, General Secretary PASHA Nadeem Malik, MD Ignite Asim Shahryar, CEO and MD Systems System Limited, Country Director Unifonic Khurram Rahat, Chairman Sparx Asif Khan, CEO Abacus Consulting Fatima Asad-Said and other dignitaries also spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

The 23rd edition of ITCN Asia, the flagship event of the IT and telecom sector, commenced on August 31 in Karachi at the Expo Centre.

Tech Destination Pakistan was the title partner of this event for the first time. Google, P@SHA, and UNIFONIC were also leading partners. Over 450 organizations are participating in the event, including 100 foreign delegates from eight countries: China, Singapore, Azerbaijan, UAE, KSA, USA, etc.

The event hosts more than 400 booths showcasing global brands. Companies such as Special Communications Organization, InoTech Solutions, Systems Limited, Abacus Consulting, Transworld, UNIFONIC, S.I Global Solutions, etc. are participating in the event.

The event is supported by the Ministry of IT & Telecom, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and Pakistan IT Industry Association (P@SHA). Besides the exhibition, various conferences are taking place on Cybersecurity, E-commerce, Fintech, Agile, Digital Education, Gaming, etc.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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Tulukan Mairandi Sep 04, 2023 07:41am
Will do better exporting slaves and human organs. People are the only resource we have plenty of.
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Mustafa Sep 04, 2023 09:01am
One big impediment in IT export is that too many people from Pakistan with little knowledge has entered the IT field and were not able to fulfill their commitment due different reasons, now the foreign companies or parties are not entertaining Pakistani businessmen.
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Shahid Khan Sep 04, 2023 10:32am
Dear Ministry, we cannot achieve anything like 10 billion with this sort of loadshedding and lawlessness in the country. There's no policy in the country as the internet is slow and can be closed for useless reasons.
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Dr fahad Sep 04, 2023 10:33am
@Tulukan Mairandi, like India
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KU Sep 04, 2023 11:03am
Yup, keep dreaming or taking people for a ride. This headline has graced many newspapers for the last many years, but nothing to show for it, especially when we cannot produce any qualified IT professionals. But yes, the IT technology in the hands of crooks and swindlers has, and still is, committing online bank heists and other frauds, and no one to stop them.
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KhanRA Sep 04, 2023 11:45am
IT workers will do the smart thing and leave Pakistan as soon as possible.
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Builder Sep 04, 2023 02:22pm
@KU "... especially when we cannot produce any qualified IT professionals". This is disgrace and insult to highly qualified IT people, still living in the country and serving this country besides all hurdles. Looks like you are posting comments without knowing anything about IT.
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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Sep 04, 2023 02:23pm
Law enforcement forces/agencies are illegally harassing educated and skilled population of Pakistan over their political & social expressions, compelling them leave the country. This time will be the most flopped project of SIFC come whatsoever COAS and others apply the force, it is fate written on the wall.
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Aftab Sep 04, 2023 09:09pm
Didn't understand the logic of enhancing export when our whole economy is stagnant. Secondly who would ask from this interim minister once he goes???? LC wasn't opened due to less availability of $ that played havoc with already crippling economy of Pakistan. One example of" sugar" is enough to tell the" far sightedness" of those who come into power.
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Faraz Sep 10, 2023 03:09am
Good effort.
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