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Govt to seek cabinet nod for digital policy today

By Our Correspondent
May 17, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Government will present digital Pakistan policy before the cabinet for approval on Thursday (today), envisaging a $10 billion of IT exports target in the next two years.

“The digital Pakistan policy gives a framework and is being presented to the cabinet tomorrow for its approval,” Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said on Wednesday.

IT minister was addressing the 39th meeting of Pakistan Software Exports Board’s (PSEB) board of directors, a government statement said.

“Due to strenuous efforts of our government and particularly ministry of IT and PSEB board, Pakistan’s IT and ITeS (enabled services) sector has developed exponentially helped by generous incentives and facilitation granted to the IT and ITeS sector,” Rehman added.

Last week, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced incentives and measures for the IT and ITeS sector, including cash reward on exports, extension of tax holiday on exports till 2025, reduction in sales tax to five percent in Islamabad Capital Territory, long-term financing at five percent and new legislation for tech special economic zone and new IT parks.

The government has already announced several benefits in the previous couple of years, including 100 percent repatriation of capital and dividends, 3-year tax exemption for IT startups, and tax holiday for venture capital funds till June 2024 among others.

“It’s our biggest pride that the growth rate of IT and ITeS exports has jumped to 125 percent over the last five years,” minister Rehman said. “We always assign utmost priority to IT sector and adopted all possible measures to enhance growth of the IT industry of the country.”

IT minister said the industry is growing in terms of the number of companies and revenue as well as in exports and workforce on yearly basis. “These are major achievements. However, there is much more work to do to reach the present government’s target of $10 billion in IT and ITeS exports by 2020.”

Minister Rehman directed PSEB’s officials to increase participation in international fairs in order improve the country’s share in global IT outsourcing market.

IT minister asked the officials to take all possible aggressive measures to brand Pakistan as an ideal IT destination for IT outsourcing and extend maximum possible facilitation to the IT Industry of Pakistan with particular focus on start-ups.

They were asked to enhance participation in key international trade fairs to increase contribution of IT sector to Pakistan’s economy through foreign exchange earnings and job creation.

“Pakistan has entered in the era of digitisation through revolution and not through an evolution, hence a lot more work needs to be done to keep up pace with technology including amendments in rules of business , framework and laws to reap full benefits of what technology offers for development and growth,” she said.

Secretary IT Aamir Ashraf Khawaja, Chairman Pakistan Software Houses Association Barkan Saeed, Acting Managing Director PSEB Ali Abbas Hasani and other board members were also present at the meeting.