ISLAMABAD - Tax exemption on Information Technology exports is an incentive of the incumbent government to promote IT industry, which will ensure a new era of evolution in the country.

IT is an emerging sector and it requires support to flourish. The current situation is the main reason for tax exemption on IT sector till June 2019. The federal government has extended the exemption on exports of IT products and services in the federal budget for 2016-17. Over the last few years, the Ministry of IT and Telecom (MOIT) has taken a number of initiatives for the development of ICTs especially in the arena of access, skills, markets, and governance to attain Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's vision of a Digital Pakistan, an official of the ministry said.

Led by IT Minister Anusha Rehman, the MOIT has successfully created an enabling environment where citizens, companies and the government become technology enabled to avail opportunities being offered to them by what is called the 4th Industrial Revolution. Every year, MOIT works with the Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, and other agencies to introduce new incentives and initiatives that can fast track the trajectory towards a Knowledge Economy and Society.

It's pertinent to mention here that in recent budget, Federal Excise Duty on Telecommunication Services has been reduced from 18.5 percent to 17 percent. Sales tax on smart phones was reduced from Rs1000 to Rs650 per set. Customs Duty on telecom equipment reduced from up to 16 percent to 9 percent. Withholding income tax for mobile phone subscribers reduced from 14 percent to 12.5 percent.

The MOIT has also started many skill development training and internship programmes, including an ICT4Girls programme targeting tens of thousands of school girls, and will shortly launch a massive digital skills training programme that will train more than one million trainees in freelancing. Certainly the tax incentives given to the IT and Telecom sector by the federal government will continue strengthening the sector and its growth.