PM Kakar approves IT policy targeting digital exports of up to $10 bn

The Ministry of Information and Technology (IT) and Telecommunications on Wednesday, received the go-ahead from Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar for its new IT policy aiming to increase the country’s digital export to $10 billion.

According to the Caretaker Minister for IT and Telecom Dr Umar Saif, the new IT policy will address and mitigate the hurdles in the IT sector, increasing the digital exports’ potential to the $10 billion mark.

To further improve the services sector, the ministry plans to introduce training programmes in line with international standards for the youth, Dr Saif said.

We have already commenced the programme for the training of 200,000 professionals who will contribute towards increasing Pakistan’s IT exports to up to $5 billion, the minister added.

During the high-level huddle, the prime minister directed the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and the Ministry of Energy to cooperate and collaborate with the Ministry of IT on this matter.

The caretaker minister for IT also apprised that the new policy aims to bring PayPal and Stripe — international online payment processing platforms — to Pakistan and establish co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers to increase their potential to an additional $3 billion per annum. 

The IT policy aims to enhance the country’s digital exports via institutionalising dollar retention accounts and allowing an easy flow of money through IT corporate debit cards.

Additionally, the government also plans to utilise venture capital to raise investments of up to $1 billion for various startups.

The new policy also aims to ensure enhanced and efficient utilisation of the available spectrum via extensive reforms in this domain.

Furthermore, the ministry plans to introduce active spectrum sharing, forward-looking taxation policies, regulations and incentives for the telecom industry to prepare for the upcoming 5G auction within 10 months, Dr Saif added.

Expressing his views on cell phone manufacturing in the country, the minister said that Pakistan is the seventh largest market for cell phones in the world therefore, the ministry intends to incentivise local manufacturing and export of smartphones.

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