IT exporters for reconsideration of IT budget

LAHORE   -   Pakistan’s IT industry has expressed dismay over the announcement for the sector in the financial bill, demanding reconsideration of the budget for the IT industry, which has the potential to earn foreign exchange in billions for the country without huge investments. IT exporters recommended that the government should allocate a budget for the promotion of IT exports on priority; on the other hand, the allocation of Rs. 79 billion for IT parks, digital transformation, and IT automation is appreciated as a good move for the local economy.

The federal government should allocate a decent amount for promoting IT education across the country at a comprehensive level to prepare a human resource which can duly meet the requirement of local industry for IT projects within the country and exporting countries, said an IT exporter, Saad Shah.

He pointed out that IT companies in Pakistan lack highly skilled human resources to expand their operations in foreign countries. To make matters worse, foreign companies are hiring a number of qualified and experienced professionals; hence, precious human capital is being transferred to different countries in search of better career opportunities and better living standards.

He also mentioned that IT exports could not only help the country avoid its financial crisis, including current account and debt repayment, but they would also provide jobs to millions of youngsters with decent living incomes and reduce poverty across the country. Chairman PASHA Zohaib Khan said that Rs10 billion must be allocated to the federal budget to produce hundreds of IT professionals through skill development programs, including upskilling IT professionals with emerging technologies through bootcamps in different companies and universities. IT industry also urged the government to give relief to IT professionals on income tax. Otherwise, the trend could be discouraged for human resources of the IT industry to switch towards freelancing and remote work for foreign and local companies.

He mentioned that imposing additional taxes on laptops and mobile phones will affect every company, individual, and industry as these are essential equipment for doing business these days.

Noman Said, a leading IT businessman, appreciated the allocation of Rs 79 billion for IT and technology parks and digital transformation, terming it a productive investment for the local economy. The digital transformation will provide opportunities for local IT companies to transfer their expertise through global experience to the local governance system. The imposition of additional taxes on IT equipment may slow down the targets of achieving digital transformation. He added that the budget allocation must match the vision of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), hence, the government should do more to empower the IT industry to achieve more results from investment and export receipts. CEO SI Global added that the financial bill should be revised to make it more export-oriented for the IT industry, which is more important than the local market.

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