General Elections of Pakistan have almost arrived and contesting political parties are gradually releasing their manifestos. We are eager to learn how much attention is being given to IT and digital reforms by major political parties and whether a local startup policy is on their radar?
PPP has shared its manifesto for the upcoming elections that entails a three-prong approach for the advancement of information technology in the country. Defining the vision of PPP for the local IT sector, the manifesto states,
“We believe that Pakistan should be at the forefront not only in terms of the consumption of information technology for fulling the basic needs of our people, but also advancing information technology in particular areas.”
Here are the major three aspects that the PPP manifesto focuses on for the advancement of the local IT sector,
1. Incentives to private sector suppliers and users of services
PPP has announced the following incentives for users and startups to promote the consumption of IT services and products:
- All taxes associated with data transfer will be eliminated
- Tax on smartphones below PKR 15,000 will be exempted
- A subsidy policy will be created for cloud computing services for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups along with a state-sponsored cloud computing facility
- A policy will be developed for certain public places to provide free WiFi
2. Enabling environment for digital economic transactions
PPP wants to give attention to the nascent area of transactions to develop it as a significant contributor to GDP and an engine for creating employment opportunities.
To make the regulatory framework friendly for startups and industry alike, PPP will be working on the following agenda:
- A comprehensive regulatory framework will be devices for digital economic transactions in consultation with industry stakeholders.
- Barriers to entry will be lowered for new market entrants
- A mechanism will be established to provide a one-window solution to investors for regulatory approvals
- Waiver of duties will be announced for 10 years on machinery and equipment for industry’s core operations
- Tax incentives will be provided to facilitate the growth of the industry
- Availability of credit to the sector will be facilitated in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan
- Campaigns will be launched to increase public awareness for the use of financial technology
3. Creating demand for digital services in social sector innovations
PPP is ambitious to drive innovations for ensuring efficiency and outreach at national and provincial levels pertaining to social protection, hunger eradication, health systems and education, to name a few areas.
PPP plans on creating and meeting demand for IT service in social sector innovations by the following approach:
- Support will be provided to local suppliers, particularly startups to meet the demand generated for all aspects of IT services – design, hardware, software and system management
- Pakistan will be promoted as an emerging innovation hub for social sector services across developing countries and even developed country markets
PPP’s manifesto was released before any other political party made their own public. Major agendas carved in the PPP manifesto revolve around introducing critical policy statements and regulatory frameworks.
Both, PPP and PTI are major political parties contesting the upcoming general elections and it was necessary that they also direct their attention towards the local IT sector. We now look forward to PML-N to share their agenda for local IT sector and how they aspire to continue the progress of major incentives announced by former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.