PM Kakar green lights IT ministry's plan to bring PayPal, Starlink to Pakistan

PM Kakar approves new IT policy which aims to increase the country's digital exports by up to $10 billion

Web Desk

  • “New IT policy to bring PayPal, Starlink to Pakistan”: Minister.
  • IT exports can reach $10 billion, $1 billion to be raised for startups, says Dr Saif.
  • Training programme for 200,000 IT professionals already commenced, PM told.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Wednesday, approved the Ministry of Information and Technology (IT) and Telecommunications' plan for a new comprehensive policy aiming to bring PayPal, and Starlink to Pakistan.

In his meeting with the Caretaker Minister for IT and Telecom Dr Umar Saif, the premier appreciated the ministry for its comprehensive measures aimed at tapping the unlimited potential of the country's IT sector.

The prime minister also issued directives to 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.

According to Dr Saif, the new 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.

The govt plans to utilise venture capital to raise investments of up to $1 billion for various startups.

Accentuating the country's potential for the IT sector, the minister said that Pakistan's digital exports have the potential to reach the $10 billion mark if the hurdles are duly addressed and removed.

According to the minister, the new policy also 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.

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.

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, said the interim minister.

Expressing his views on cell phone manufacturing in the country, Dr Saif 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.