ISLAMABAD – Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Dr Umar Saif recently renewed his pledge to facilitate the freelancers and e-commerce companies by removing hurdles in the payment system.
His resolve comes as the people attached to this sector have long been demanding the government to facilitate them to get their payments directly from PayPal, Wise and Sripe – the digital systems for international payments.
Saif last week held a meeting with a team of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) with key focus on three important initiatives.
“1. Bring PayPal/Stripe/Wise to Pakistan, to enable freelancers and e-commerce companies to easily get paid.
- Dollar retention accounts and corporate debit cards for IT companies, to enable IT companies to retain and spend their dollars easily.
- Accelerate next stage of RAAST merchant payments (P2M), with request-to-pay facility. Everyone will be able to easily pay digitally by scanning a QR code at a shop. Crucial step for digitising the economy and super charge the FinTech revolution!,” he wrote on social media platform X.
Very productive meering with the wonderful team at the State Bank. Full steam ahead on three important initiatives:
1. Bring PayPal/Stripe/Wise to Pakistan, to enable freelancers and e-commerce companies to easily get paid.
2. Dollar retention accounts and corporate debit cards… pic.twitter.com/Ejpp7X2mSi
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) September 1, 2023
He first expressed his resolve to bring PayPal, Stripe and Wise in Pakistan when he shared a roadmap for online freelancers in Pakistan on social media platform X, formerly Twitter. He wrote, “Our roadmap for online freelancers in Pakistan:
- Bring PayPal and Stripe
- Treat online freelancing at the same tax rate as IT industry: 0.25%
- Create co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers in Pakistan.
“I believe our online freelancers can earn up to $2.5 Billion within the next 2 years!” he said.
Our roadmap for online freelancers in Pakistan:
1. Bring PayPal and Stripe
2. Treat online freelancing at the same tax rate as IT industry: 0.25%
3. Create co-working spaces for 500,000 freelancers in Pakistan.
I believe our online freelancers can earn up to $2.5 Billion…
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) August 31, 2023
The IT minister had unveiled the roadmap to achieve the target of $10 billion in annual exports through four major dimensions at a ceremony related to ITCN Asia 2023.
PayPal, Wise, Stripe expected launch date in Pakistan
The caretaker setup in Pakistan is established for period of 60 days or 90 days for holding transparent elections in the country. The constitutional tenure for current government, to which Dr Saif is attached, is 90 days as the National Assembly was dissolved days before its tenure ends.
The first possibility is that the IT minister, who is eager to boost the Pakistan’s tech sector, would try to make the launch of PayPal, Wise and Stripe in Pakistan during the 90 days tenure of the interim government.
However, the tenure of the interim setup is likely to go beyond the 90 days as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to hold fresh delimitation of constituencies under the new digital census. The process could take months.
The chief election commissioner in a recent statement said that the ECP has said a target to conclude delimitation by December 14, 2023. It means the elections would be held next year, giving more time to the “strongest ever [in terms of ability]” caretaker cabinet to execute its policies.
So, the second possible launch date would be early months of 2024.
The PayPal, Wise and Stripe launch in Pakistan can vary depending on the political situation in the country.