Pakistani Freelancers Brought in $360 Million Foreign Exchange in 2021

The export income of freelancers mainly in the IT sector surged in 2021 to a record $360 million owing to the government policies, member of Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Information Technology Veqar ul Islam said on Thursday.

Addressing a media roundtable, he said the freelancing export income registered in 2020 was $256 million and it would further enhance in the current year following the government decision to completely exempt freelancers and the IT industry from taxes.

Vaqar, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Jaffer Business Systems (PVT) Ltd., freelancers were not only exempted from paying taxes but they were also being facilitated by making access to banking services easier. He added that various skill development programs were also launched for the young aspiring to work as freelancers.

The removal of taxes on IT services will not only encourage new people to start freelancing but it will also attract skilled professionals to take a leap of faith toward entrepreneurship and expansion of their businesses at local and global levels, he said.

The present government, he said, was efficiently working to promote the IT sector through its program of Digital Pakistan. He noted that the government efforts reflected in the growth of the IT industry and its exports during the last couple of years in the country. He underlined that the contribution of IT companies and freelancers to the national economy had significantly increased to an all-time high.

Veqar pointed out the cost of hardware had considerably increased in recent years mainly due to the depreciation of the Rupee against the US Dollar, which was a key challenge for the local IT sector, particularly budding entrepreneurs.

He said the trends of doing business in the IT sector were being revolutionized with various virtual infrastructure options such as cloud-based services being gradually adopted across the world and in Pakistan.

He also highlighted the growth in the technology startup sector which remarkably grew by 78 percent in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Veqar urged IT companies to adopt advanced technologies and trends including Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Gaming and Data Science in order to compete with the global and regional competitors going forward.

The government has set an ambitious target of $50 billion IT exports that could be achieved in the next few years if incentives like tax holidays and local potential of the industry were realized in letter and spirit, he said.

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