Pakistani freelancers are one of the prominent contributors to ailing economy of our country. Just in 2020, freelancers and IT exports have added $600 million as inwards foreign remittances, equating to 90 billion rupees. These remittances are expected to grow up to $5 billion by 2023.
Overall, this hasn't been an easy journey for any of us mainly because when we started:
- There was not any formal guidance or platform for training to start with
- There were no IT industry in the country, most of us were self taught hustlers
- Pakistan has a bad reputation in international community and clients avoided doing business with us
- Complete lack of payment gateways to charge for services & IT products
- Strong competition from well established IT countries like US, Europe and India
But we were true to our cause and were dedicated to our dreams which not only helped us but also made Pakistan one of the few top IT freelancing countries in the world.
Now when we have some success and have created a pathway for the new comers to start a carrier in a jobless country, government has decided to ride on our success without providing any facilities or by helping improve our conditions.
The recent calls for taxation of freelance income & crackdown on such individuals is both troubling and a stopper to the continuous growth of freelancing industry in Pakistan. Not to mention that any such attempts will have more adverse effects for the economy than good ones such as:
- Majority of freelancers will keep there assets in dollars and other strong currencies in foreign countries, hence drying up the remittance flow that is expected to grow exponentially
- Those who can afford, will most likely move out to tax friendly countries such Estonia, adding to the ongoing brain drain from the country
- It will hinder overall progress of Pakistan in the IT industry
- And may cause an increase in hawal hundi etc which is already rampant in the remittances related to foreign workers and labors.
Therefore we kindly request both the leader of house Mr. Imran Khan and leader of opposition Shahbaz Sharief to save this industry from ill-thought-out legislations and take ground realities into considerations.
We don't see any hope for high paying jobs in our country nor are there any other plans in site which can help most of us to break the shackles of our financial class, the only hope we have is our skills and work from foreign clients and it will be devastating to us if the government demands a cut from our little but hard earned income.