Islamabad: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has taken significant steps to promote and simplify the processes for IT exporters and freelancers, aimed at boosting the export of IT and IT-enabled services.
For IT exporters, the SBP has increased the permissible retention limit from 35% to 50% of their export proceeds in the Exporters’ Specialized Foreign Currency Accounts (ESFCAs). This move allows IT exporters greater flexibility in managing their foreign currency earnings. Notably, the new policy streamlines the usage of balances available in ESFCAs, removing the requirement for prior approval from SBP or banks when making payments. Furthermore, banks have been instructed to facilitate the issuance of debit cards, granting IT exporters the ability to make online payments directly from their ESFCAs.
In a bid to empower freelancers, SBP has introduced a comprehensive framework. This framework simplifies the process of opening bank accounts, allowing freelancers to choose between digital and physical account opening with minimal documentation requirements. The unique aspect of this policy is the concurrent opening of ESFCAs alongside their primary PKR account. Freelancers can now retain up to 50% of their export proceeds or a minimum of USD 5,000 per month in their ESFCAs. Additionally, freelancers are granted the authority to make payments directly from these accounts without any prior approval from SBP or banks.
These new measures represent a positive shift in facilitating and encouraging the IT and freelance sectors in Pakistan. The comprehensive instructions issued to banks can be accessed through the following links:
These initiatives are expected to play a pivotal role in fostering economic growth and innovation in Pakistan’s IT and freelance industries.