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KARACHI: Federal Government will arrange Rs26.5 billion ($158.5 million) foreign loan for the establishment of IT Park in Karachi.

The total cost of the project is Rs31.2 billion, out of which federal government would put in Rs4.72 billion, the official document of the project revealed.

The sponsoring agency of the project is Federal Information Technology Ministry and it has been scheduled to be completed in six years.

The project has been approved due to multiple issues in IT sector: which is lack of infrastructure, appropriate ICT policies, lack of appropriate governance and taxation, issues in retention of qualified manpower and increasing international competition.

It is part of the government strategy to develop IT zones and software parks and to setup purpose-built software technology parks in the major cities of the country to promote efficient and cost-effective collaboration, digitalisation, R&D entrepreneurship and innovation.

The official document pointed out that software companies in Pakistan lack appropriate business space & infrastructure including inadequacy of community facilities. Therefore, it is essential to establish new IT Park buildings to satisfy the needs of software companies and develop IT industry in Pakistan.

According to the document, Government of Pakistan envisages to develop knowledge based economy through value addition, innovation and technology adoption and wants investment in the determinants of national competitiveness especially skill development, information and communication technologies.

Document stated that Korean consultant and Pakistan Software Export Board conducted feasibility study for IT Park in Karachi including detailed survey for demand analysis of IT Park in the city.

The report suggested that there is phenomenal growth of IT Parks worldwide, which is driven mainly from the fact that technology has become very pertinent for economic development as it offers a powerful competitive advantage, besides, small and medium size enterprises are playing increasingly important role in technological advancement, innovation, employment generation and economic growth worldwide and increasing growth of advanced knowledge-based SMEs offer high potential growth.

As part of feasibility study, consultations with stakeholders highlighted shortage of workspace, insufficient infrastructure, lack of community facilities within office premises and difficulties in sharing benefits because of lack of cluster approach.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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