IT industry urged the central bank to introduce a faceless banking system for outward remittances to export-based companies and freelancers as part of the facility of 50 percent foreign exchange retention accounts.
The delegation of IT companies led by Chairman P@SHA Zohaib Khan and representatives of freelancers, Tufail Ahmed Khan, CEO and President Pakistan Freelancers Association met Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Jameel Ahmed and senior leadership.
The meeting was also attended by Aisha Morani, Additional Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoTT).
IT companies sought the support of the banking regulator for introducing a facility of online internet banking for outward repatriation in order to speed up the process of business transactions rather than the present exercise of visiting the dedicated branches which is a hectic and time-consuming exercise.
During this meeting, the PASHA delegation emphasized the issuance of corporate debit cards by the banks to the IT Industry for usage of 50% of export proceeds in Exporters Specialized Foreign Currency Accounts.
While talking to the delegation, the Governor State Bank Jameel Ahmed said that the central bank has instructed commercial banks to issue corporate debit cards to IT companies. He assured the delegation that two to three banks would start issuing corporate debit cards to IT companies within one month.
Governor Jameel Ahmed assured the IT industry’s request will be entertained in the near future as IT companies also vowed to work for enhancing export receipts and foreign investment against the facility, according to Chairman P@SHA Zohaib Ahmed Khan.
He mentioned that the facility of 50 percent forex retention accounts will only be utilized if the systems are made smooth by means of digital banking, which will result in inflows of foreign exchange inflows through the export of IT services.
PAFLA’s Tufail Ahmed Khan urged the Governor SBP to order more commercial banks to provide account facilities to freelancers including small cities who will be encouraged to work for foreign clients to attract precious foreign exchange.
Banks should also create awareness and guidance to freelancers for utilizing a facility of 50 percent retention of forex exchange through designated banks, he added.
While talking to ProPakistani, Chairman PASHA Zohaib Khan said that the meeting of the IT Industry delegation with Governor State Bank Jameel Ahmed was held in a pleasant atmosphere. He said the faceless digital payment system for the IT industry is necessary to boost IT exports.
Facilitating the IT industry means that IT companies should not have to visit bank branches. The IT companies should be allowed to make payments from their ESFCAs accounts without any approval from the State Bank of Pakistan or commercial banks, he added.
The central bank’s leadership assured the delegations to come up with directives for commercial banks to promote this facility, continuing interaction with all stakeholders for constructive feedback in the future.
The banking regulator also agreed to set up help desks to further enhance communication, educate IT companies about the SBP’s forex retention policies, and provide a centralized platform for IT companies to raise their concerns and seek assistance with payment-related matters.