ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque on Wednesday said that all efforts had been made to increase the access of technology in small towns and cities, adding that number of software technology parks would be almost doubled to 40 within a year.
“Currently there are 22 software technology parks operating in the country and by December 2022, this number will increase to 40. The expansion is mainly in second tier cities and towns,” the minister said addressing the inauguration of Amazon Software Technology Park in Rawalpindi.
He said that in order to enable the development of tech industry across the country, attention has been paid to secondary cities.
The minister said the most significant benefit of this policy is focused on women empowerment. A large number of females can work as freelancers or at a project while remaining in their homes, he said.
Mr Haque said that more than 110 million citizens of the country have access to broadband facilities and there were more than 500,000 IT professionals in Pakistan. 25,000 IT graduates are entering the market every year, which includes a large number of young professionals and women, he added.
He said that Pakistan’s telecom sector is fully regulated and more than 85 per cent of telecom infrastructure is based on fibre optic cables. Internet access is available in more than 2,000 cities and towns, while the total number of users is over 107 million.
Mr Haque said the Ministry of IT & Technology (MoITT) through the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) continues to support all credible initiatives of the private sector to strengthen the local IT industry and attract foreign investment.
The minister said that a regional office of PSEB has been set up in Quetta, paying special attention to the development of Balochistan.
“Every effort has been made to increase the access of technology to small towns and cities. We have directed PSEB to provide registration fee waiver for companies and startups from backward areas,” he said.
He added that the initiative has significantly increased the number of registered companies and startups from less developed areas including Bhakkar, Bannu, Dera Ghazi Khan, Gilgit, Khanewal, Kohat, Mithi, Mansehra, Layyah and Muzaffarabad.
“We believe in ensuring fast-track approach for foreign IT companies to expand their business and provide every possible facility to those companies who want to explore Pakistan for their investment and outsourcing need,” the minister said.
The Software Technology Park is a joint venture between PSEB and Amazon Mall, covering an area of 44,000 square feet and providing state-of-the-art facilities required by the tech industry under one roof including backup power supply.
The Central Climate Control and high-speed internet have been provided at subsidised rates and the IT professionals or companies can rent space at Rs90 square feet.
He added that in the next stage of development of IT industry, the aim was to enhance strong collaboration between the MoITT, State bank, Federal Board of Revenue and other relevant stakeholders, including the PSEB, to ensure that we not only sustain the growth of Pakistan’s IT industry.
The event was also addressed by PSEB MD Usman Nasir and Amazon Technology Park Chairman Shafiq Akbar.
Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2021