Pakistan eyeing $50bn IT exports in next few years: PM Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday the government is planning on expanding the information technology (IT) sector in a few years, as he urged the youth to take advantage of the “technological revolution”. “We have provided small incentives, and in a span of a year or two, our IT exports have jumped from $2 billion to $3.75 billion. Our youth has taken much advantage of the small incentives provided by the government,” the prime minister said while addressing the National E-Commerce Convention. The prime minister said the government would move the hurdles in the way of the youth so they could benefit from the “technological revolution”.While assuring the government’s all-out facilitation, the premier urged the youth not to miss the IT revolution which would not only generate revenue but also bridge the country’s trade gap. The premier also announced that the government has decided to grant a complete tax exemption to registered freelancers.  The prime minister said former Microsoft boss Bill Gates visited Pakistan last week on his invitation as he wanted to involve him in Pakistan’s IT sector. He said he would come up with good news in a few days in that regard. PM Imran Khan also appreciated Gates’ contribution to Pakistan for polio eradication as the country reported no case last year. The prime minister, who earlier launched E-Tijarat Portal, said the country’s elite-centric system always resisted the common man from excelling. However, despite having no developed systems, Pakistan’s youth had immense potential. He said the government had also introduced a core education curriculum for up to fifth class so far to do away with the systemic discrimination of English and Urdu medium education. Citing the example of a freelancer named Nadia from Gilgit, Imran Khan said IT provided the easiest opportunity, particularly for women, to contribute to the national development. Even the 60% of the country’s population under the age of 30 can also be used for this purpose, he added. He said having an old connection with the overseas Pakistanis, he knew their potential as they excelled in numerous fields abroad wherever they got a level playing field. The prime minister also appreciated his Special Assistant on E-Commerce Aon Abbas Buppi for his concise and informative presentation as well as his dedicated efforts to promote e-commerce. He told the gathering that the incumbent government had inherited a bankrupt country but being a sportsman, he knew how to sail through the difficulties and always advised his cabinet never to worry about it. Earlier, the prime minister also distributed awards among the youngsters running their startups in multiple fields.
In his address, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin the prime minister always emphasised the digital economy knowing the fact that the world going towards the very course. He said using the technology, people could now open their accounts, make transactions, buy houses and cars while sitting in one place. He said Pakistan also wanted to move side by side the world which required the up-gradation of internet services. He told the gathering that while awarding a 5G spectrum license, the government would prioritise quality services, not revenue. SAPM on E-Commerce Aon Abbas Buppi said in 2021, Pakistan’s e-commerce market volume was $4 billion, while the volume of the global e-commerce market was estimated at around $30 trillion. He said through the first e-commerce policy, the government e-commerce as trade and also enhanced freelance payments from $5,000 to 25,000.

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