IT freelancers have $3-4 billion offshore due to high tax rates: Tarin – Business
ISLAMABAD: Former Finance Minister Senator Shaukat Tarin said on Monday that Pakistani IT freelancers had placed $3-4 billion overseas and were reluctant to bring money into the country due to high taxes.
Mr. Tarin was speaking at the Senate Commerce Committee meeting to review various government policies and their status of implementation.
Senator Zeeshan Khanzada chaired the meeting which was held in Parliament.
Mr. Tarin further said that to encourage the IT sector, they should enjoy tax exemptions for 10 years and they should also be allowed to open 100% foreign currency accounts. He said banks should be asked to lend to business communities in small provinces. The matter should be taken up with the State Bank of Pakistan and the Ministry of Finance, he added.
Calls on the government to launch payment gateways and tax exemptions to attract investment
Senate Deputy Speaker Mirza Afridi said that for the development of Pakistan’s IT export, it is necessary to bring in payment gateways like PayPal.
Officials informed the committee that talks have been held with international payment gateways PayPal and others. “We are trying to start this service in Pakistan as soon as possible. Payments are currently made through a payment gateway linked to PayPal on Amazon,” they added.
A detailed presentation was made to the committee members on the potential and performance of the IT industry and the e-commerce sector. The committee was informed that the National E-Commerce Council has been established for the development of e-commerce in the country.
Pakistan is currently the 37th largest e-commerce market in the world and growing rapidly.
The committee members said that quality control is very important for the development of e-commerce so that this industry gains people’s trust.
Senator Abdul Qadir said e-commerce can be used to reduce the role of middlemen in the agricultural sector. This will give a better price to our farmers and also make affordable products available to people, he added.
The Department of Commerce informed the committee that 10 sector councils have been established so far and three more are ongoing. The councils are created to create an atmosphere of trust between government and industry regarding policies so that business conditions in the country can be improved.
All councils will play an advisory role and suggest new initiatives for the improvement of the industry. The chairman of the committee said that a sectoral strategy should be adopted in consultation with the private sector while ensuring the representation of all provinces in these councils.
Senator Danesh Kumar briefed the committee on the illegal smuggling of fish products in Balochistan. He said Pakistani fishermen are forced to sell their products to large international trawlers due to a lack of necessary storage and technology. If all these facilities are provided in Gwadar and adjoining areas, then trade can be improved through legal means.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada, directed that information on this issue be obtained from provincial governments and institutions and submitted to the committee so that a policy can be formulated in this regard. Senator Mirza Afridi said the ban on importing cattle from Afghanistan should be lifted.
Inquiring about the reasons for the delay of the TDAP board meeting, the officials told the committee that the TDAP board does not exist at the moment, the names have been sent to the cabinet for formation , but the case was delayed due to the change in government.
The officials said that after the formation of the new government, the names are again sent to the cabinet and the board meeting will be convened soon after the cabinet approves it. The report of the subcommittee on the issue of gold importation was presented to the committee. The report will be reviewed at the next committee meeting.
Posted in Dawn, October 4, 2022