Pakistan intends to give tax breaks to investors for the next two years. Special Technology Zone Authority (STZA) in Islamabad has been allocated 150 acres of land for science and technology advancement. Capital Development Authority (CDA) has identified the land and is making necessary arrangements for setting up a tech zone. Possession of the land will be transferred immediately while Payment of this land will be made in 5 years in equal installments. The main motive behind all these moves is; Pakistan seeks for 6 Billion USD IT industry in the next two years.
STZA which has been established under STZA Ordinance 2020 has been delegated with powers to set up special technology zones across the country. Authority initially takes this initiative in Islamabad, Haripur, Karachi, Quetta, and Lahore. STZA Chairman in his interview told Bloomberg that we are to open a number of such technology zones in the upcoming year.
Investors in special tech zones will be given a facility of tax waive for the first 10 years. Import of any equipment particularly building material will be excluded from Tax. These supportive steps of govt. are supposed to give a heavy push to the IT sector. IT sector is expected to gain its worth up to 6 billion USD which would be a positive gesture for investors across the country.
Oxford Internet Institute in its Online Labor Index shows Pakistan is an emerging IT-oriented nation with its two-thirds population below 30 years of age. Pakistan is home to the third major gig economy after India and Bangladesh. The inflow of huge overseas investment in-country during Pandemic also shows seriousness in startups. Investment in fine tech and e-commerce is expected to give a catapult push to boost the economy of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed last year about the shining future of the tech industry in Pakistan. He was told that due to the lack of a tech Eco-system, South Asian nations have not been able to make their way in this sector. Entrepreneurs have to struggle a lot for startups as kickbacks and commissions are demanded by Mafia in the homeland which leads to unnecessary delays.
Keeping in view these problems, PM decided to boost the tech zone of Pakistan. Chairman STZA further elaborated, special incentives must be announced to lure Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other technology giants to pull fine tech investment in the country. He cited, Dubai has become home to technology investment just because of providing ease of doing business.
Believing in these positive gestures of sitting govt. about 50 domestic and a dozen foreign investors have given their consent for investing in special tech zones. Hashmi, Chairman (STZA) is of the view that investment of 1.5 billion USD will be poured into the tech industry of Pakistan within 2 years. He is trying to convince the government to give more privileges to local investors.
It will not only revive the confidence of local investors but also attract overseas investment in the country. TPL Corp. working on the same lines is establishing a tech zone in Karachi.
IT sector, one of the fastest-growing sectors of Pakistan is contributing at the rate of 1 % in GDP of Pakistan. It has worth 3.5 million USD which is expected to be doubled in coming years due to the supportive stance of the sitting govt. of PTI. Shaukat Tarin, Finance Minister of Pakistan states the IT industry is a game-changer and declares to provide all the facilities required by tech investors.