IT Minister: Interest-free loans from the government to create 5,000 E-Working Centers

The government intends to support the potential of the IT sector by providing interest-free loans for E-Working Centers to freelancers.


Dr. Umar Saif, the acting federal minister in charge of information technology and telecommunications, announced on Wednesday that interest-free loans would be given by the government to create E-Working Centers, which will help independent contractors.

In a statement to the media, Saif claimed that each freelancer will get Rs 100,000 to help them establish their E-Working Center, with them providing the remaining funds if necessary.

The goal of this project is to alleviate the problem that now faces 1.5 million independent contractors who lack adequate workspaces.

The potential economic significance of this shift was highlighted by Dr. Saif, who estimated that each freelancer may make between $25,000 and $30,000 per year, making a considerable contribution to the national economy.

He estimated that by taking these steps, exports from the IT sector could rise by $3 billion.

In addition, the government is attempting to make loans and investments more accessible for IT startups, with the goal of bringing in $1 billion in outside capital in the next six months.

Dr. Saif addressed the skill gap in the IT workforce by revealing that, although 20,000–22,000 IT graduates are currently produced by Pakistani universities, only 2,000–2,200 of them are able to find employment.

The minister proposed to require all university students nationwide to complete international-standard IT training in order to address this problem. This could result in an increase of over 200,000 skilled workers in the IT sector and a $5 billion increase in IT exports.

In order to encourage IT companies to repatriate money from overseas and possibly bring an extra $1 to $2 billion into the nation, Dr. Saif also suggested providing incentives.

Dr. Saif emphasized that Pakistan, with its 190 million users, is the seventh-largest mobile phone market. He also presented the government's plan to encourage the production of reasonably priced, high-quality mobile phones locally.

The objectives of this program are to lessen dependency on imported phones, preserve foreign currency, and generate jobs in the high-tech sector.

Dr. Saif presented his ideas for a National Roaming Policy, which would improve mobile services by enabling telecom providers to share towers, guaranteeing improved customer connectivity.

The National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) plans to train about 100,000 IT professionals in an effort to improve IT proficiency.

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