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Pakistan Unveils Robust Strategy to Achieve $10 Billion IT Exports: Dr. Umar Saif Maps Out Multi-Dimensional Plan at ITCN Asia 2023

Date: August 31, 2023

Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, has revealed a comprehensive roadmap aimed at achieving the target of $10 billion in annual exports through four key dimensions.

Speaking as the chief guest at the 23rd ITCN Asia 2023 event in Karachi, themed “Declaring Pakistan The Regional ICT Hub,” Dr. Umar Saif highlighted strategies to enhance Pakistan’s IT exports. He emphasized that by encouraging IT companies to keep their export income in special accounts within Pakistan banks instead of offshore offices in different countries, the annual IT export could rise from the current $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion.

To further amplify exports, the government plans to partner with the private sector to train 100,000 software developers, thus increasing exports by an additional $2 billion annually, totaling $5.5 billion. Various training programs and boot camps will focus on equipping university graduates with in-demand skills required by the IT industry.

Dr. Umar Saif stressed the importance of empowering freelancers, noting that Pakistan has the world’s second-largest online workforce community. He highlighted the need to provide freelancers with an international payment gateway like PayPal and proposed the creation of dedicated workspaces for them in different cities, ultimately increasing exports by $2 billion.

The minister advocated for a reduced tax rate on freelancers’ income, equal to the tax rate of the IT industry at 0.25%, to foster the growing Gig economy in Pakistan.

Regarding the telecom sector, Dr. Umar Saif pledged to facilitate the launch of 5G technology through the auction of 300 MHz in consultation with stakeholders, while also doubling the spectrum capacity to meet customer demands.

Additionally, Dr. Umar Saif highlighted the need for a special financing facility to boost the production of high-quality mobile phone handsets and introduce a de-risking mechanism for venture capital to promote startup investment.

The 23rd ITCN Asia, the premier event for the IT and telecom sector, commenced on August 31 at Karachi’s Expo Center. Tech Destination Pakistan was the title partner for the event, and leading partners included Google, P@SHA, and UNIFONIC. Over 450 organizations participated, including 100 foreign delegates from eight countries.

The event was supported by the Ministry of IT & Telecom, PTA, PSEB, and P@SHA. Alongside the exhibition, conferences were held on various subjects including Cybersecurity, E-commerce, Fintech, Digital Education, and Gaming.

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