Government committed to adopting digitisation
KARACHI: The government strongly believes in adopting digital technologies and innovative applications to enable cross-sector socio-economic development and achievement of sustainable development goals, said Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Anusha Rahman.
She said that the Digital Pakistan Policy will serve as a catalyst towards a holistic digital ecosystem in the country with advanced concepts and components for rapid delivery of next generation digital services, applications and content.
The minister said this after the cabinet approved the Digital Pakistan Policy on Tuesday.
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The policy aims to improve citizens’ quality of life and economic well-being by ensuring availability of accessible, affordable and reliable high quality ICT services.
Rahman said that with the approval of this policy Pakistan has taken a major leap towards adopting digitisation to accelerate socio economic development.
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The fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will enable the IT industry to increase software exports, train more youth with technology, entrepreneurs, freelancers, innovation and digital e/m services.”
Prior to its submission, consultations with all relevant stakeholders were carried out. A formal inter-divisional consultation was also carried out by the ministry as per the government rules and regulations.
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The policy also includes a specific chapter for the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for the IT/IT enabled services (ITeS) industry, which were finalised in consultation with PASHA. Current incentives and promotional initiatives already in place for the sector include 100% foreign ownership allowed, 100% repatriation of capital and dividends (subject to SBP approval), IT & ITeS Export Income Tax exemption till June 2019 and Income tax holiday for Venture Capital companies/funds till June 2024, under Venture Capital Companies and Funds Management Rules, 2000.
Apart from the incentives announced in the budget 2017-18, benefits announced in the newly approved policy include extension of zero-rated tax regime on IT/ITeS exports till 2025, 5% cash reward on IT export remittances, reduction of sales tax to 5% on domestic revenues in Islamabad capital territories (ICT) and legislation for tech SEZs and new IT Parks.
These incentives will attract long-term investments, improve export remittances and increase new IT parks through technology SEZs throughout the country.