Dr. Umar Saif, Acting Federal Minister for ICT, shared some interesting developments at the Tech Destination Pakistan event. A pilot project will be launched starting February that will benefit 10,000 freelancers in Pakistan by allowing them to receive payments through PayPal.
Dr Saif explained that although PayPal will not have a direct presence in Pakistan, an agreement has been entered into to facilitate payment through PayPal through a third party agreement. In this innovative program, freelancers will not need to go through the traditional process of opening a PayPal account. Instead, people outside Pakistan will make payments from their existing PayPal accounts, and these funds will quickly be deposited into freelancers’ accounts.
To simplify the process for self-employed workers, the government has simplified the process of opening bank accounts. Freelancers only need to provide proof of accounts on popular platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, Elance, Toptal or Crossover.
Dr. Saif emphasized that there is a revolutionary policy for freelancers in the IT industry: the 50% dollar retention policy. This means freelancers can keep half their earnings in dollars, while providing them with a debit card to spend that money locally or internationally.
The government has allocated funds for setting up E-Rozgaar centers across Pakistan. These centers are designed to provide world-class facilities, improve productivity and contribute to enhancing the overall digital landscape in Pakistan.
As part of this comprehensive programme, more than 250 E-Rozgaar Pakistan centers are scheduled to be established through collaboration between government and private entities. This initiative seeks to encourage self-employment and entrepreneurship in Pakistan, and promote integration into the digital, financial and economic sectors.
Dr. Saif also highlighted important decisions aimed at improving IT education. A standardized quality test for 75,000 IT graduates is scheduled to take place on January 15, and successful candidates will be offered job opportunities through the industrial recruitment programme. The government allocates funding to support industry-specific university courses, ensuring students are well prepared for current industry trends.
The government plans to train 16,000 people for international certifications, ensuring a skilled workforce in areas such as Salesforce, Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle Financials. Federal Secretary for Information Technology, Hassan Nasser Jami, stressed the ministry’s keenness to develop the information technology ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurs, students and developers to take advantage of the opportunities available in this evolving landscape.