Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has announced a relief package for the IT industry by reducing the rate of Sindh Sales Tax on IT, software business and call centers from 13 percent to 3 percent without the input tax credit.
However, large establishments that prefer standard rate with input tax credit will have the option of 13 percent with input tax credit facilities. Murad made this announcement while speaking at a seminar organized by Sindh Information Science & Technology department and Pakistan Software Export Board & P@ASHA on the topic of Ease of Doing Business for IT/ITeS Industry, at a local hotel. The seminar was attended by Federal Minister for IT Syed Aminual Haq, CM Special Assistant on IT Tanzila and others.
Shah said that he would announce relief to the IT industry in his budget speech tomorrow (Tuesday). The CM said that extensive growth in IT exports has put pressure on the supply of quality HR. “If we don’t immediately invest in our HR building then we will lose the trajectory of growth,” he said and added that his government is fully aware of this supply and demand gap and plans to initiate multiple skills building programmes in the next financial year.
The programmes the chief minister announced initiating include high-end bootcamps for the youth, skills building for teachers and trainers, digital literacy for primary and secondary, skills program for girls and skills and freelancing programs for differently abled persons.
Innovation & entrepreneurship:
Shah said that digital transformation of Sindh could only become a reality if we employ effective public-private partnership. “In order to reengineer the existing government processes and introduce innovative citizen services it is imperative to engage our youth who are involved in innovative ideas and solutions into government systems,” he said and added that for fulfilling this objective the government of Sindh was focusing on different programs, including promoting startup culture through incubators and accelerators, private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funding, startup induction in government operations/services and special incentives for women-owned startups.
Talking about e-governance, the CM said that automation of government operations is a fundamental building block for efficient and effective governance. He added that his government was committed to improving governance through the use of technology in its operation. Murad Ali Shah said that Sindh has already taken initiatives for the establishment of Sindh Digital Board, automation of government operations, online government services for citizens and business and continuous citizen awareness for opportunities and threats.
Tech for socio-economic uplift:
The chief minister said that for a developing country like Pakistan, efficient provision of basic citizen services could not become a reality without the intervention of technology. “The Sindh government wants to leapfrog in the use of digital technologies and overcome the existing challenges in the provision of basic services to citizens,” he said and added that his government has decided to heavily rely on the use of technology and plans programmes for technology intervention in focused area of health, agriculture, education, and woman empowerment.
IT & ITeS:
It is well understood that the solution to the economic problems faced by Pakistan lies in the growth of our IT exports, the chief minister said and added that the growth in IT exports not only would bring much-needed dollars in the country but also bring economic prosperity. Therefore, Shah said his government is committed to facilitating the IT sector by providing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and projects for enhancing IT export from Sindh and policy interventions and procurement regulations to promote use of local IT solutions.