Dr. Umar Saif's Vision for Country Development with SIFC

Dr. Umar Saif’s Vision for Country Development with SIFC

Tech and Telecom

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Dr. Umar Saif, emphasized the crucial role played by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in driving foreign direct investment (FDI) and propelling the country’s development. He shared these insights during his visit to Daftarkhwan, where the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) Townhall hosted an interactive session on Saturday.

Achievements in the Caretaker Setup

Dr. Saif highlighted the caretaker government’s success in achieving 13 out of 15 important targets for promoting the IT & Telecom sector within 5 to 6 months. He underscored the forum of SIFC as instrumental in supporting the upcoming elected government for continued progress.

Policy Interventions for IT Exports

The minister pointed out collaborative efforts with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to facilitate IT exporters. The permissible retention limit in Exporters’ Specialized Foreign Currency Accounts (ESFCAs) was increased from 35% to 50%, leading to a notable 32% increase in the country’s IT exports in the last 60 days.

Growth in ICT Export Remittances

Dr. Saif provided statistics on the growth of ICT export remittances, showcasing a substantial increase of US$ 64 million (8.99%) during July to December 2023, compared to the same period the previous year. He emphasized the positive impact of these measures on the industry.

Telecom Tribunal and Dispute Resolution

The Telecom Tribunal, fulfilling a longstanding demand of the telecom sector, highlighted a significant achievement. A specialized approach accelerates dispute resolution, advancing the telecom industry, emphasized by Dr. Saif.

Initiatives in IT Education and Job Placement

The minister outlined initiatives to revamp IT education in collaboration with various entities, including HEC, the National Computing Accreditation Council, and industry associations. 75,000 IT graduates to undergo standardized test, paving the way for job opportunities through Industry Placement Program.

PayPal Payments for Freelancers

Addressing a longstanding demand, Dr. Saif announced that freelancers would now receive payments through PayPal. He clarified that while PayPal itself isn’t available in Pakistan, an agreement had been reached for remittances to be channeled through PayPal via a third party.

Advancements in Satellite Communication

Dr. Saif discussed the nation’s first space policy, allowing international companies to provide communication services through low-orbit communication satellites. He highlighted the rapid advancements in satellite communication technology and its potential impact on communication services in Pakistan.

Future of 5G Services and E-Rozgar Centers

Expressing confidence in launching 5G services by July-August, Dr. Saif emphasized the need to enhance the optic fiber network. Additionally, he announced the government’s project to establish 10,000 e-Rozgar centers across the country, aiming to support freelancers and startups.

Pakistan Startup Fund and Economic Development

Rs 2 billion allocated for Pakistan Startup Fund to boost venture capital investment, revealed by Dr. Saif. Confident in Fund’s pivotal role, Ministry of IT reaffirms its commitment to supporting Pakistan’s economic development.

PASHA Townhall Event Attendees

The event was attended by PASHA Chairman Muhammad Zohaib Khan and representatives from the IT sector, signifying the industry’s active involvement and interest in the discussed initiatives.

Also read this: https://www.skipper.pk/2024/01/26/the-first-ever-pakistan-mobile-summit-is-ready-to-take-place/


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