The Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, has expressed his desire to introduce online payment systems like PayPal and Stripe to Pakistan. He made this announcement while serving as the chief guest at the 23rd ITCN Asia 2023 event in Karachi, themed “Declaring Pakistan The Regional ICT Hub.”
Dr. Umar Saif highlighted that Pakistan boasts the world’s second-largest freelancer community, and integrating platforms like PayPal and Stripe would potentially boost exports by an additional $2 billion.
To achieve the goal of reaching $10 billion in annual exports, the minister unveiled a four-dimensional roadmap. He suggested that increasing the annual IT exports from the current $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion could be achieved by encouraging IT companies to retain their export income in special accounts within Pakistani banks rather than sending it to offshore offices.
Furthermore, the government, in collaboration with the private sector, plans to train 100,000 software developers, aiming to increase exports by another $2 billion annually. This initiative involves various training programs and boot camps to equip university graduates with in-demand IT skills, subsequently addressing the unemployment issue.
Dr. Umar Saif also emphasized the need for an international payment gateway to support freelancers, who currently contribute significantly to overseas remittances due to the absence of platforms like PayPal. Creating workspaces for freelancers in various cities, reducing high tax rates on freelancers, and introducing a de-risking mechanism for venture capital are among the minister’s proposals.
The event, supported by various government bodies and organizations, featured over 450 participants, including 100 foreign delegates from eight countries. It included exhibitions, conferences, and discussions on topics such as cybersecurity, e-commerce, fintech, digital education, and gaming.