Pakistan to get Starlink, PayPal: PM Kakar

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has given the green light to the Ministry of Information and Technology (IT) and Telecommunications’ ambitious plan, designed to introduce PayPal and Starlink to Pakistan.

In a recent meeting with Dr. Umar Saif, the Caretaker Minister for IT and Telecom, the Prime Minister commended the ministry for its comprehensive strategies aimed at harnessing the immense potential of the country’s IT sector.

The Prime Minister also issued directives to several key entities, including the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), and the Ministry of Energy, instructing them to collaborate closely with the Ministry of IT on this initiative.

According to Dr. Saif, the new IT policy has a multifaceted approach, with a focus on bolstering the country’s digital exports. This includes institutionalizing dollar retention accounts and streamlining financial transactions through IT corporate debit cards.

Furthermore, the government plans to leverage venture capital to secure investments of up to $1 billion for various startups. Dr. Saif emphasized that Pakistan’s digital exports hold the potential to reach $10 billion, provided the existing obstacles are addressed.

The policy also aims to attract global online payment processing platforms like PayPal and Stripe to Pakistan. Additionally, it seeks to establish co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers, potentially contributing an extra $3 billion annually.

To enhance the services sector, the ministry plans to introduce training programs aligned with international standards for the country’s youth. Dr. Saif noted that they have already initiated a program to train 200,000 professionals, with the goal of increasing Pakistan’s IT exports to $5 billion.

The new policy includes measures to optimize spectrum utilization through comprehensive reforms. It also involves introducing active spectrum sharing, forward-thinking taxation policies, regulations, and incentives for the telecom industry. The objective is to prepare for an upcoming 5G auction within a ten-month timeframe.

Regarding local cell phone manufacturing, Dr. Saif highlighted Pakistan’s status as the seventh-largest global market for cell phones. Consequently, the ministry plans to incentivize local smartphone manufacturing and export.

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