The government is prioritizing the establishment of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Islamabad in the second phase of Chine-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
As per a media report, the government wants to start an early construction of the special zones program. In a bid to accomplish that, it has attributed four SEZs as top priority for immediate construction.
The top-priority SEZs include Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3) in Faisalabad, China Special Economic Zone at Dhabeji (Thatta), Rashakai Economic Zone on M-1 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the model ICT zone in Islamabad for IT and related services.
The project of setting up a model ICT zone will commence soon. The government will hold the groundbreaking of the zone soon as a strategy to increase the export share of IT and related services.
As part of a strategy to boost IT-related exports, the cabinet has recently approved an agreement regarding the ICT talent program between the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Huawei Technology Pakistan.
Special Economic Zones
Reportedly, nine potential sites across all provinces and special regions have been approved for the establishment of SEZs under the CPEC project.
These zones also include Moqpondass Gilgit Zone, Bostan Industrial Zone in Balochistan, SEZ in Mirpur and Mohmand Marble City in tribal areas, and an industrial park on Pakistan Steel Mills’ land at Port Qasim near Karachi.
It is pertinent to mention here that the data of the State Bank reveals that the financial year 2017-2018 saw a double-digit growth of 13 percent in the export of IT and related services, as the said exports increased to $1.067 billion from $939 million in 2016-2017.
During the previous government’s tenure, the overall exports of the country fell to $4 billion leaving a wide gap in the balance of trade and the new government is trying to find ways to reduce that gap on an urgent basis.