The Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Dr. Umar Saif, has met a significant request of the IT sector by facilitating the retention of 50% of export earnings, as acknowledged by industry stakeholders.
Previously, IT firms were permitted to retain only 35% of their export revenues in foreign currency accounts. In a recent development, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), during the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) meeting, endorsed the increased forex retention for IT companies after discussions with industry representatives.
Following this decision, the SBP will amend foreign exchange regulations to mandate private banks to credit 50% of IT companies’ export earnings into specialized foreign currency accounts.
The Ministry of IT and Telecom played a pivotal role in facilitating discussions between the IT industry and the State Bank, with Dr. Umar Saif advocating the industry’s demand at the federal level. The IT Minister emphasized that this decision would enable IT companies to relocate their accounts from overseas to Pakistan, potentially leading to a surge in IT exports from the current volume of $2.6 billion to $4 billion.
The IT industry welcomed this development, with the Chairman of the Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA), Zohaib Khan, expressing gratitude for the 50% permission to use foreign currency. He also praised the initiatives of SIFC and Dr. Umar Saif, stating that IT companies will endeavor to shift their accounts to Pakistan promptly.