PayPal, Stripe Services Expected to Launch in Pakistan Soon

Wed Oct 25 2023
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities on Wednesday announced to introduce of PayPal and Stripe payment gateways in the country in the coming weeks. Pakistan’s Minister for IT and Telecommunications Dr. Umar Saif, noted the absence of suitable financial instruments and expressed optimism about the expected positive developments.

He was addressing a press conference alongside Information Minister Murtaza Solangi in the federal capital. Dr. Saif said that discussions have been held with PayPal, Stripe, and RISE, and the government has presented its case to these international payment service providers.

While these companies have expressed concerns, including those related to FATF regulations, Dr. Saif remained optimistic, stating that “we will hear good news regarding PayPal and Stripe in the coming four to six weeks, and through any formula, we will provide these services to our freelancer community.”

He highlighted that Pakistan boasts a significant workforce of approximately 1.5 million IT freelancers, making it the world’s second-largest online workforce.

To support this thriving community, the government is working on several initiatives. Dr. Saif introduced the E-Rozgar program, which will provide interest-free loans to the private sector, enabling the establishment of co-working spaces for up to 500,000 individuals. He also shared insights into Pakistan’s IT sector, comprising around 19,000 companies, providing employment for 150,000 people, and contributing to official exports totaling $2.5 billion.

Freelancer Community Awaits PayPal and Stripe Integration

However, he acknowledged the challenges faced by IT companies in repatriating their forex reserves and revenues due to restrictions on US dollar repatriation. Efforts are underway to allow these companies to retain 50% of their revenue in US dollar accounts, facilitated by corporate debit cards for international payments. The State Bank of Pakistan has increased the permissible retention limit for IT exporters to further boost export earnings and bring additional foreign exchange into the country.

While acknowledging the high demand for the IT sector, Dr. Saif recognized the need for a more skilled workforce in Pakistan. The government is collaborating with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to establish standardized tests for IT graduates and provide mandatory apprenticeships in the industry for those who pass.

Dr. Saif also highlighted the potential for Pakistani IT companies on the global stage, as well as the government’s plans to launch the Pakistan Startup Fund, facilitating investments in startups in partnership with global venture capitalists. Additionally, preparations for the auction of 5G spectrum have been initiated.

To enhance cybersecurity and protect against online data theft, a cybersecurity authority is set to be announced in the coming months.

These developments mark a significant step toward strengthening Pakistan’s digital economy and providing freelancers with easier access to international payment services.



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