Many IT cos parking USD outside country: minister

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ISLAMABAD: According to the caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr Umar Saif, the government is planning to establish a mechanism in order to keep dollars in the country. Many IT companies are parking dollars outside the country, which is not in the best interest of the country.

In an interview with journalists, the minister disclosed the value of Pakistan’s IT exports, which total 2.6 billion dollars. There are more than four billion dollars in the Pakistani IT industry; however, IT companies have a good deal of money parked outside, while people still keep their money outside.

Government plans to halt the flow of dollars abroad, said the IT minister, adding that a mechanism for retaining dollars for the IT industry will be reached in the next few days.

Dr Umar Saif says IT can address Pakistan’s trade imbalance

A deal with PayPal is currently being negotiated to facilitate the inflow of dollars into Pakistan, according to IT Minister Saif. According to him, PayPal’s entry into the country is hampered by a regulatory framework. A business case was never presented for PayPal because of FATF and international organization rules, the minister said.

As well, the minister questioned the validity of the country’s spectrum auctions, saying there hadn’t been any in ten years. A telecom tribunal will be established in the telecom sector, he added.

Among the initiatives announced by the caretaker minister is the introduction of corporate debit cards and the implementation of mandatory apprenticeship programs at universities. Additionally, IT graduates will be required to take a standardised test.

NewTech will train 16,000 people, and 0.1 million people will be certified internationally, according to IT Minister Saif.

It is important to bring dollars to the IT industry and to address the shortage of technical workers, according to the IT minister.

According to the IT minister, the government plans to launch an Interest-Free Loan Scheme to assist IT freelancers. There is also a proposal to create 5,000 e-employment centers in the IT sector.

A government fund will be formed with international companies to support start-ups, he said. This fund will receive three billion rupees from the government.

In the next cabinet meeting, the IT minister will present the infrastructure sharing policy. Within two months, National Roaming will begin on National Highways due to the establishment of the National Roaming Infrastructure.

Users will be able to use different mobile networks on national highways, said the minister for information technology.

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