In a significant development for Pakistan’s freelance community, the government has made a breakthrough in addressing their longstanding demand for PayPal access. Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, announced this key decision while speaking with journalists.
Dr. Saif shared that the ministry is gearing up to launch several digital initiatives, including making PayPal accessible for channelizing remittances, as part of its strategy to transform Pakistan into a ‘Tech Destination’. This move comes as a response to the absence of financial tools facilitating seamless payment transactions for freelancers and IT professionals in the country.
The minister clarified that while PayPal itself is not setting up operations in Pakistan, an arrangement has been made to route remittances through PayPal via a third-party. The formal inauguration of this service is scheduled for January 11.
Further emphasizing the government’s efforts to boost the IT and telecom sector’s exports, Dr. Saif mentioned that the official export figure stands at $2.6 billion. However, the actual export value is closer to $5 billion. He explained that a significant portion of the revenue is retained overseas to cover international employee salaries and operational costs on platforms such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.
A major policy intervention has been implemented in collaboration with the SIFC and the State Bank. This policy allows IT companies to retain 50% of their export revenue in dollar accounts within Pakistan, enabling them to meet international expenses without restrictions. This initiative has encouraged IT companies to repatriate their earnings, resulting in a notable 13% increase in export revenue within a month.
This move marks a pivotal shift in Pakistan’s IT landscape, promising enhanced financial fluidity and international connectivity for the country’s burgeoning tech sector.