The Government Decided To Set Up An Information Technology (IT) Park At Jinnah International Airport In The Trade And Business Hub Of Karachi.

By Zafar Bhutta

The Government Has Decided To Set Up An Information Technology (IT) Park At The Jinnah International Airport In The Trade And Business Hub Of Karachi At A Cost Of Rs31 Billion, Say Officials. The government is focusing on increasing the growth of IT sector to enhance exports. It is contrary to the past practices when excessive reliance was placed on exports from traditional sectors like textile. South Korean government has offered to finance the IT park project including the provision of technical expertise.

In addition to that, the government is also setting up IT parks in other cities, particularly Islamabad, in a bid to give a boost to the IT sector. IT is the only sector that offers huge opportunities of employment. The setting up of IT parks will not only give a fresh impetus to the IT sector, but it will also provide job opportunities for the people. South Korea is expected to provide 85% of funding for the project, which amounts to around Rs26.4 billion calculated at the rate of Rs170 to a dollar.

Seoul will also offer fellowship training for capacity-building of the IT park management. Total cost of the project is estimated at Rs31 billion. The government will arrange around Rs26 billion in foreign loans to complete the project. It will meet the remaining 15% of the cost from the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The IT park will house about 210 IT companies having 8,400 employees. The project includes a multi-storey office building.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) would act as the project executing agency and would complete it in six years. They said that the IT park would be spread over an area of 106,449 square metres with eight floors above the ground and three basement floors. Korean consultants and the PSEB have conducted a feasibility study including a detailed survey for demand analysis of the IT park. The report highlighted three broad factors behind the worldwide growth of IT parks.

First, technology has become very pertinent to economic development as it offers a powerful competitive advantage. Second, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are playing an increasingly important role in technological advancement, innovation, employment generation and economic growth worldwide. Third, increasing growth of advanced and knowledge-based SMEs offers a high growth potential in light of the feasibility study, project scope and major components.

Keeping these three broad prospects in view, the government has planned to set up the IT park in Karachi. The IT park will provide space, facilities and services for IT firms. It will offer a platform to the industry and local universities to establish synergies. It will also attract international business collaboration and global IT companies as anchor tenants and investors. The IT park in Karachi will improve the provision of work space and allied infrastructure facilities for IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) companies and promote growth of the IT industry.

The project will also help to improve the formation of IT clusters, increase export revenues and showcase Pakistani innovations and services in the IT sector before the international audience and customers. The IT park building will have offices, daycare centre, amenities, parking, etc. It will have ICT system, security features and a data centre. There will be post-project operational support for the IT park management two years after its completion. The IT park management is also included in the management information system. Two years of operational support of ICT infrastructure includes consultancy services for the design and construction of buildings with security facilities.

This news was originally published at Tribune.