Islamabad, October 25, 2023 (PAKONONY): Pakistan is on the verge of receiving promising news regarding the accessibility of globally recognized payment gateways, PayPal and Stripe, within the country. Dr. Umar Saif, Pakistan’s caretaker federal minister for IT and Telecommunications, announced the upcoming advancements during a recent media address.
Good News for PayPal and Stripe
Dr. Umar Saif has revealed that Pakistan is likely to hear “good news” about the introduction of PayPal and Stripe payment gateways in the next four to six weeks. This news is eagerly anticipated, particularly by Pakistan’s thriving freelancing community.
Addressing Freelancers’ Needs
Dr. Saif emphasized the critical role these payment gateways will play in supporting Pakistan’s burgeoning freelancing community. Currently, Pakistan lacks a financial instrument that effectively facilitates payments for freelancers.
Ongoing Discussions with Major Companies
In response to the community’s needs, the government has been in discussions with PayPal, Stripe, and RISE. These discussions aim to address concerns and challenges, including considerations related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
A Booming IT Freelancer Workforce
Pakistan boasts approximately 1.5 million IT freelancers, establishing it as the second-largest online workforce globally. However, the absence of essential infrastructure has hindered their full potential.
Initiatives to Boost IT Industry
To address these challenges, the government has initiated the E-Rozgar program, which will provide interest-free loans to the private sector. This program will establish co-working spaces for approximately 500,000 individuals, fostering a conducive environment for IT professionals.
Collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC)
To combat the shortage of skilled workers in the IT sector, the government is working alongside the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Together, they will introduce standardized testing for IT graduates, and those who pass will undertake mandatory apprenticeships within the IT industry.
Encouraging IT Exporters
Efforts have been made to incentivize IT exporters to bring their reserves back into Pakistan. Regulatory changes now allow IT companies to retain 50% of their revenue in US dollar accounts. These companies will also be provided with corporate debit cards for international payments.
Significant Potential for Pakistan
Dr. Saif shared his optimism about Pakistan’s potential in the IT sector, especially after attending the GITEX conference in the UAE. He sees substantial opportunities for Pakistani IT companies on the global stage.
Support for Startups
The government is also gearing up to facilitate investments in the startup sector. In the coming weeks, they will launch the Pakistan Startup Fund, aiming to collaborate with global venture capitalists. This initiative aims to foster billion-dollar startups in Pakistan.
Pakistan is exploring the auction of 5G spectrum and introducing a cell phone financing scheme, which will allow individuals to purchase high-end phones in installments. This measure is expected to establish a market for high-end phones within the country.
Focus on Cybersecurity
Dr. Saif revealed that the government is working on enhancing cybersecurity and fortifying protection against online data theft. An announcement regarding the establishment of a cybersecurity authority is expected in the coming months.
Dr. Umar Saif’s announcement signifies a significant step forward for Pakistan’s IT and freelancing community. The introduction of PayPal and Stripe, along with various supportive initiatives, holds the promise of unlocking the country’s vast IT potential and driving innovation and economic growth. The government’s dedication to cybersecurity and the startup sector is set to further bolster Pakistan’s position in the global technology landscape.