SBP & FBR disconnected from PM’s IT Vision: Chairman P@SHA

Zohaib Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA), has expressed his profound concerns that despite being fully backed by the prime minister, the IT export growth initiatives are not being supported by State Bank and FBR.

He added that the Prime Minister’s seriousness lies in the fact that he is heading the high-level committee on the country’s digital economy and has made Chairman P@SHA part of it.

Zohaib Khan stated that PM, on P@SHA’s request, had advised SBP to ensure commercial banks allow 35% retention of foreign currency into special foreign currency accounts (FCYs).

This facility was made mandatory for the banks to remove any discretion exercised by the banks. However, commercial banks have made the facility mandatory for the companies as well even if companies do not wish to retain forex.

This has created panic in the industry once again about the uncertainty of policy and its implementation. On top of that, SBP has mentioned a timeline of the facility by March 31, 2023 – which is too short a time period for its implementation and adoption by the banks and exporters, let alone fair assessment and industry trust-building.

While the Prime Minister has committed to ensuring the implementation of corrective policy measures, there is hardly any compliance by the regulatory authorities. FBR, for one, has started issuing notices to the IT companies on super tax that too on very short deadlines.

The timeline mentioned in the notices is not as per the law and thus has created uncertainty and panic in the tech ecosystem once again.

If the target given by the Prime Minister has to be achieved, the policy measures recommended by P@SHA and the IT industry must be implemented in true letter and spirit. To boost the exports of the IT & ITeS industry and Pakistan’s economic growth, policy implementation and continuity must be ensured.

Pakistan must manifest itself as a favorable tech destination. Consistent lack of support by the relevant departments is counterproductive to achieving the export growth target given by the Prime Minister. In an environment that lacks support and facilitation despite assurance by the highest authority, the export remittances are only going to decrease, let alone maintain a status quo.

It must be stressed that while Pakistan grapples with an economic crisis, IT & ITeS is the only sector that can potentially stabilize Pakistan’s economy. To bridge the current account deficit, the industry offers an increase in IT Exports and the inflow of revenue in the form of investments–both of which are critical to Pakistan’s economy.

According to Zohaib Khan, Chairman P@SHA

IT exporters are young, energetic, highly-skilled and supremely-motivated professionals; and, taxation authorities must not treat them with their usual arm-twisting tactics or must not entangle them in unnecessary regulatory hassles. Instead, the way forward for the growth of Industry as well as for the progress of Pakistan is to ensure ease of doing business.

  • Very TRUE & stand with P@SHA message as otherwise Tech industry may FACE MessUP & Young Entrepreneurs may away from the initiatives.

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