Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, has
unveiled an ambitious roadmap to propel Pakistan’s annual IT exports to a
substantial $10 billion target. Speaking at the 23rd ITCN Asia 2023 event in
Karachi, he outlined a multifaceted strategy encompassing four major
Firstly, Dr. Saif emphasized the need to encourage IT companies to keep their
export income within Pakistan, thereby increasing annual IT exports from the
current $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion. Special forex accounts and online banking
platforms would be crucial for achieving this goal.
Secondly, the government intends to collaborate with the private sector to train a
staggering 100,000 software developers. This initiative is projected to add $2
billion to annual exports and equip graduates with in-demand IT skills, addressing
the employability gap.
Thirdly, to tap into Pakistan’s substantial online workforce, the plan aims to
provide freelancers access to global payment gateways such as PayPal, potentially
increasing exports by an additional $2 billion. Creating 5,000 workstations across
different cities for freelancers is part of this effort.
Lastly, the strategy includes reducing high tax rates on freelancer income,
facilitating venture capital investment in startups, launching 5G technology,
increasing telecom spectrum capacity, and offering special financing for mobile
phone manufacturers. The event also featured prominent figures from various
sectors, including dignitaries from the State Bank of Pakistan and tech industry
leaders. This comprehensive plan reflects a determined effort to position Pakistan
as a significant player in the global IT and telecommunications arena.