Pakistan needs skilled freelancers, entrepreneurs

In the contemporary global competitive environment, Pakistan needs skilled and productive freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers, which can be achieved by forging strong collaborations between the government and private companies, Fahad Sheikh, Cofounder and Director of Pakistan Freelancer Association (PAFLA) told WealthPK.

“In Pakistan, freelancers have registered a remarkable growth in numbers and income during the recent years. Among the world's leading nations in terms of ICT exports, Pakistan shares the spotlight with the United States, India, and the United Kingdom. Telecom infrastructure expansion across the country has played a major role in freelancers’ development,” he stated.

“It is an interesting fact that 60% of freelancers from Pakistan fall in the age bracket of 24 to 30. A large percentage of people employed in Pakistan's gig economy are either previously unemployed or have little experience or skills. However, the local business market is not well-developed and doesn’t offer a platter of opportunities,” he said.

“Many freelancers and gig workers rely on digital platforms and technology to find work and deliver services. Despite this, the freelancers are not sufficiently trained in digital skills that meet the industry's requirements,” said Fahad.
“We should create new opportunities for the youth and provide them with the necessary skills to benefit from the gig economy,” he said.

“The PAFLA was established with the aim to boost the development of freelancers in Pakistan by offering them opportunities, support, and a platform where they have access to the resources that can help them grow their careers. It strives to provide the freelancers with the right tools to overcome challenges in the fields that are constantly evolving,” he explained.

“Our efforts have been comprehensive and effective in numerous respects, ranging from seeking collaborative opportunities to meeting with relevant stakeholders to discuss pertinent issues,” said the PAFLA cofounder and director.

“In Pakistan, as the gig economy and freelancing gain prominence, it has become evident that regulatory policies are urgently needed to safeguard the rights of freelancers and provide clarity on taxation and financial obligations,” he stated.

“Absence of comprehensive regulations has left the freelancers vulnerable to various challenges, hindering the sector's potential to contribute significantly to the economic growth,” he said.

Sharing concerns, he said, “the Pakistani freelancing community had fewer payment options compared to other global freelancers. Although Payoneer and MoneyGram operate in Pakistan, the ever-popular PayPal is still not available. This leaves the majority of freelancers with no option but to rely on local clients and stay away from the global customers for fear of not getting paid.”
“The government has been asked to provide incentives to the freelancers and enable them to earn precious foreign exchange for the country,” he stated.

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