September 01, 2023 (MLN): Pakistan is emerging as a regional center of ICT, and if IT companies are given confidence, they will transfer remittances to Pakistani banks instead of keeping them in offshore accounts abroad, Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Dr. Umar Saif stated while addressing the opening ceremony of ITCN Asia 2023 in Karachi.
This move is expected to increase the annual export of IT from the current level of Rs2.6 billion to Rs3.5bn in a short period of time.
Dr. Umar Saif emphasized the importance of special accounts and online banking platforms for IT companies.
These platforms would enable them to easily make external payments for purchasing hardware, equipment, basic infrastructure, essential software, and services.
He also announced that the IT Ministry will collaborate with the private sector to prepare one lakh software developers, which will significantly boost exports by an additional Rs2bn, raising the total export to Rs5.5bn.
To achieve this, various training programs and boot camps will be organized for university graduates, enhancing their skills to meet industry requirements.
Furthermore, this extensive training and skill development initiative will create numerous job opportunities for IT graduates in Pakistan, contributing to both their families' well-being and the strengthening of the country's economy.
Dr. Umar Saif acknowledged that Pakistan's educational institutions currently produce 35 to 40 thousand IT graduates annually, with only 10% finding employment. He highlighted the need for change in this regard.
Regarding the freelancing community, he pointed out that Pakistan boasts the world's second-largest freelancing workforce, consisting of four lakh people.
However, due to the absence of international payment gateways like PayPal, this workforce cannot fully contribute in the form of remittances.
The availability of payment gateways like PayPal could potentially increase IT exports by $2bn.
To support freelancers, Dr. Umar Saif emphasized the importance of creating a supportive ecosystem and workstations across the country.
The government-private sector collaboration aims to provide a conducive environment and facilities for freelancers.
Additionally, he proposed the imposition of a 0.25% tax on freelancers, similar to the tax incentives provided to the IT sector, to promote their role in economic development.
Dr. Umar Saif also discussed initiatives in the venture capital market, including the introduction of a fund of funds with 30% government equity to co-invest with venture capital in start-ups, addressing concerns related to the market.
In the telecom sector, he acknowledged the challenges faced by telecom operators and customers regarding the quality of service.
He emphasized the need to assist telecom operators in infrastructure investment to enhance service quality.
Dr. Umar Saif also mentioned the intention to double the existing spectrum and expedite the auctioning of unused spectrum to meet the growing demand in the mobile phone market.
Furthermore, he announced the government's plans to provide research and development funds to mobile manufacturers to make locally produced mobile phones globally competitive.
Collaborations with telecom companies will also facilitate mobile phone financing options.
The opening ceremony of ITCN Asia 2023 was attended by various prominent personalities from the IT sector, including Sparks Chairman Asif Khan, NITB CEO Babar Bhatti, Tech Destination CEO Ali Raza, General Secretary Pasha Nadeem Malik, MD Ignite Asim Shehryar, MD Systems Limited, Country Director Uniphonic, and others.
The three-day exhibition and conference, ITCN Asia 2023, will continue until September 01, featuring participation from 450 institutions and companies.
Additionally, 100 delegates from 8 countries, including China, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Azerbaijan, are participating in the event.
The exhibition boasts 400 stalls from both domestic and international companies and a special pavilion showcasing Made in Pakistan mobiles.
Furthermore, the inaugural World CIO 200 Summit is being organized under the CIO Global Forum.
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Posted on: 2023-09-01T10:47:29+05:00