Freelancers have been reluctant to register with the government despite being offered significant benefits.
Tell me more: The government, FBR, and the State Bank want to register freelancers over fears of money laundering.
The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and the IT ministry recently held a meeting regarding this matter.
Freelancers in Pakistan primarily work remotely for local and overseas clients and can generate billions of rupees without any support from the government.
The IT ministry has started registering freelancers, offering tax exemptions and other additional benefits.
They are also working out the procedures for local payment systems and international financial transactions with the State Bank of Pakistan to improve the process of financial transactions and remittances.
Despite IT ministry efforts, freelancers have been hesitant to register due to a lack of trust in government officials.
You should know: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had also raised objections regarding international payments to freelancers. They say there is a possibility of terror financing through unregistered freelancers.
The Senate Standing Committee on IT has suggested engaging the fintech industry for safe and documented transfer of international payments.
Zoom Out: The registration issue of international payment gateways has been going on for a while, and PayPal and other payment gateways have several concerns about entry into Pakistan’s market.
The Ministry of Commerce has prepared a policy for the registration and facilitation of gateways. After vetting by Finance Ministry, it will be presented to the federal cabinet for approval.
Before you go: Recently, a 5% sales tax has also been levied for imported laptops and personal computers. Laptops are essential tools for freelancers, and taxing them doesn’t help the case of freelancers not trusting the government.