ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced a zero tax rate for freelancers in the information technology sector.
He said Pakistanis, especially the youth, had great talent but the system did not allow them to excel.
Speaking at the launch of the National E-Tijarat Portal, Mr Khan assured the youth of “all-out facilitation” by the government and urged them not to miss the IT revolution. They should not only generate revenues for themselves but also help bridge the country’s trade gap.
“This is the technology revolution. The youth should in no way miss it. We expect the country’s IT exports to reach $50 billion in a few years.”
He said the IT industry favoured the youth as persons in their 20s had become billionaires and had older people work as their subordinates.
Announcing a policy of zero tax for registered e-freelancers, the prime minister said American entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates visited Pakistan recently on his invitation because he wanted to involve him in Pakistan’s IT sector.
Launches National E-Tijarat Portal
Formally launching the portal, Mr Khan said the country’s system generally discouraged the common man from excelling.
Praising the efforts and talent of Nadia, a freelancer girl of Gilgit, the prime minister said that IT provided great opportunities to women to contribute to national development. Sixty per cent of the country’s population, persons of up to 30 years, could also make use of these opportunities.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on E-Commerce Aon Abbas Buppi said in 2021 the country’s e-commerce market was worth $4bn while the volume of global e-commerce market was estimated at $30 trillion.
He said that under its first e-commerce policy, the government had enhanced freelance payments from $5,000 to 25,000.
During a meeting with chief of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, Dr Ali Erbas, Mr Khan said the professor’s visit to Pakistan would help strengthen linkages between the religious institutions of the two countries.
He thanked the Turkish leadership for Turkey’s steadfast support to Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He also lauded Turkey’s close cooperation with Pakistan on the joint initiative to combat rising Islamophobia.
Prof Dr Erbas reiterated Turkey’s principled position on occupied Kashmir.
In a separate meeting with newly appointed executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Catherine Russell, Mr Khan discussed the UN agency’s programme in Pakistan as well as the poor humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
Later, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Ambassador Redwan Hussien, called on the prime minister.
Ambassador Hussien, who is on a visit to Islamabad as the special envoy of the Ethiopian prime minister, delivered a message to Mr Khan on behalf of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali that included an invitation to visit Ethiopia.
Mr Khan warmly reciprocated the sentiments of goodwill and friendship expressed by the Ethiopian leader and thanked him for the invitation.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022