ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced to set up Pakistan Technology Startup Fund to provide seed funding worth Rs1 billion to around 50 startups annually.
He made this announcement while chairing a meeting in Islamabad to follow up on his foreign visits and IT sector initiatives introduced by the government.
Imran Khan said we are announcing tax holiday and 100 per cent foreign exchange retention for IT Companies and freelancers registered with Pakistan Software Export Bureau to incentivise investment in the IT sector for economic turnaround.
Emphasizing on his vision to boost IT exports to $50 billion in the next few years, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of unleashing the IT industry by providing them ease of doing business and the best incentives globally available.
He directed the authorities concerned to establish Special Technology Zones on fast track basis in Islamabad and all provincial capitals to create hubs of IT and Technology innovation and investment in cities. In the first phase, sectors of CDA in Islamabad will be declared as Special Technology Zones so that IT firms and freelancers can avail the benefits offered by Special Technology Zones Authority.
The Prime Minister also directed them to introduce necessary changes in the Foreign Exchange and Income Tax policies in order to help IT Startups thrive in the country. These reforms include launch of Roshan Digital IT Accounts by State Bank of Pakistan to allow freelancers and IT firms to retain 100 percent of their foreign income in foreign exchange with no restrictions on the movement of forex, resolution of double taxation of IT Sector by FBR, and the exemption from Capital Gains Tax of venture funding (VC) into startups. The Prime Minister directed to attract local and international VC funding into IT Startups for creating jobs and bringing forex.
Imran Khan said that Tech-savvy youth and Information Technology sector are Pakistan’s biggest assets that can be exploited to bridge the huge current account deficit.
Earlier the Prime Minister was informed that ICT export remittances in last fiscal year remained 2.1 billion dollars as compared to one billion dollars in 2018 and Pakistan is exporting to 120 plus countries in the world.