The government has allowed the South Korean Exim Bank to conducted feasibility study for the construction of state of the art IT Park in the federal capital and final report is likely to be ready by August.
An industry source said the Exim Bank has agreed to provide $50 million for establishing IT Park in Islamabad, which will be spread over an area of 45 acres. Koreans will conduct the feasibility study with the assistance of the government agency for the promotion of software exports, PSEB. The setting up of the IT Park will attract leading international companies and will help boost country’s IT exports.
Pakistan’s IT industry has consistently shown year-on-year growth over the last decade past and ranks among the top destinations for ICT outsourcing. Looking at the healthy growth trend of the local IT industry Korean offered to set up state-of-the-art IT Parks in the country. After the first one in federal capital, one each will be set up in Lahore and Karachi for which provincial governments will provide land.
According to State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP), the country’s IT exports were $370 million in fiscal year 2013-14. The figures are on the lower side as experts believe many of the IT exports are ending up as remittances. Currently Pakistan has 25 million internet users out of which nearly half is mobile internet users. The country ranks 3rd, just behind US and India, in terms of freelance programmers doing outsourced IT work. Pakistan is also in the top 10 countries based on the number of participants in courses, while both Khan Academy and Coursera.
These figures prove that the culture of entrepreneurship in the youth is on the rise, the source said adding that Pakistan should sign the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which is a plurilateral initiative and almost all major countries have joined it. The agreement deals with the liberalization of trade in goods related to IT but the impact of such liberalization on the creation and trade of IT and related services is potentially significant as it addresses the hardware of the IT sector.