The Budget 2023/24 presents an opportunity for the caretaker government to chart a new course for Pakistan. While opinions on the budget vary, it includes several promising developments for the IT sector. This article aims to explore the opportunities that lie within this budget and the factors that have influenced its formation.
A cornerstone of PASHA’s efforts over the past several years has resulted in the budget allocating Rs. 10 billion for IT development, which is a significant increase from the previous year’s allocation of Rs. 7 billion. This funding will be used to support a variety of initiatives, such as the development of IT parks and incubation centers, and the training of IT professionals. We already see several such parks being demarcated and the property being allocated to this effort. In fact the NIC group of incubators have now spread across the country due to years of investments and are helping a steady flow of entrepreneurs in launching their ventures. Increased investment would go a long way to improving the survival rate of these incubated startups as well as assisting established companies to assist them with increased number of IT parks after the early successes of Arfa Software Technology Park.
The budget also provides a number of tax incentives for IT companies, such as a reduced corporate tax rate of 10% and a waiver on import duties for IT equipment. The latter holds a significant impact as this allows for globally competitive pricing for value-added hardware technology companies, of which we lack many, and should encourage new entrants to enter several markets not excluding chip assembly, data centers and improved telecommunications services due to hardware improvements. This also provides a golden opportunity for research institutions & arms of companies to import high-performance equipment for higher-level technical research.
Recognizing the growth potential of startups, the government has set aside Rs. 500 million for a new startup fund aimed at providing financial assistance to early-stage IT companies. This fund is expected to stimulate job creation and promote innovation within the IT sector. Although the allocated amount may seem modest, strategic investments in pre-seed companies and collaborations with existing funds can further invigorate the establishment of fast-growing technology companies that may eventually export their products. Many potential success stories within the startup ecosystem could have been saved with access to pre-seed funding.
Mohib Hassan, COO at Sastaticket, joined Sastaticket.pk in late 2021. In his current role, Mohib is responsible for establishing Sastaticket.pk as the leading online travel website in Pakistan. Sastaticket.pk has been created to empower the Pakistani traveller with instant bookings and comprehensive choices. It aims to deliver value by offering a range of travel products with the highest standard of service along with cutting edge technology.
Previously, Mohib has held various positions such as Executive Director at Pizza Hut, Co Founder at several international startups amongst other roles. In these roles, Mohib has often been responsible for leading the company’s strategic direction, financial revival, technical innovations and renewed focus on stellar customer experiences. During his previous engagements, he has led the revival of multiple companies, sold some of his ventures and learnt from mistakes and experiences across the globe. Today, he is leading Sastaticket towards becoming the top choice for Pakistanis who enjoy an easy travel booking experience.
Mohib has several years of extensive experience in creating new products, solving customer pain points & operating businesses of various sizes in multiple industries ranging from insurance to food to the travel industry. He strongly believes that long-term success can only be achieved through developing a strong empowered team who strongly believe in their mission
Mohib is a mathematics and actuarial science graduate from University of Edinburgh and Boston University.