Tax exemption for new start-ups – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The government has formulated a scheme to facilitate new startups through tax exemptions and assist them in the fields of health technology, artificial intelligence, fintech and agritech.

This was revealed during a meeting on matters related to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the National Information Technology Board (NITB) chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Information Technology Shaza Fatima Khawaja said in an interview that the tax exemption is aimed at overcoming the gap between individuals and start-ups working with certain organizations and companies.

She said there was zero tax for individuals, while those working with organizations had to pay 35 percent tax. During the meeting, the Prime Minister told the State Bank Governor that banks should not put up any hurdles in the matter of debit cards and foreign exchange for exporters of software products.

PM asks SBP to simplify forex payment issues for software exporters

The Prime Minister ordered the establishment of a special committee to evaluate the performance of NITB. He directed the authorities concerned to hold consultations with the private sector to encourage new startups and provide facilities for them.

The meeting was informed that in order to achieve the target of US$25 billion in IT exports in 2029, technical services and self-owned IT business will be expanded; in addition, the Pakistan Digital Council is also being established and the legislation required in this regard is being formulated.

It is understood that with the automation of business transactions, it will bring innovation to the health, education and agricultural sectors. The meeting was informed that under the Pakistan Digital Nation project, government affairs and economy will be digitized.

The Prime Minister was informed that the target of providing training to about 1.5 million people in the IT industry within the next five years has been set.

The meeting was informed that under the public-private partnership, international certification of IT professionals will be ensured while three IT parks and 250 e-Rozgar centers will be established.

During the meeting, various recommendations were put forward to promote the development of the telecommunications industry through short, medium and long-term measures. According to them, a goal of mobile broadband coverage reaching 100MBPS has also been set, while fiber penetration will be increased to 12%.

Prime Minister Shehbaz, while speaking on the occasion, stressed the need to maximize the opportunities in the IT sector as the country has huge potential in this field. He said that the government is taking all possible measures to promote the development of the IT industry and urged the IT industry to play its role in the national economy by supporting the government.

He pointed out that Pakistani entrepreneurs have played a very key role in promoting and developing the information technology field. He directed that appropriate measures be taken to improve the quality of 4G services in the country.

The Prime Minister ordered solutions to the problems faced by the IT industry to further strengthen harmony between the government and industry.

Published at dawn on May 22, 2024

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