Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday inaugurated the Lahore Technopolis, a special technology zone, and signed agreements for bringing investments worth $300 million for its construction.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the prime minister lauded Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for paving way to build the special technology zone at a barren land spread over 800 acres in Lahore.
“Top tech companies globally have a turnover of $1000 billion each and even Indian exports from tech have reached beyond $150 billion,” he said and added that in comparison Pakistan only has exports worth $1 billion from technology-related products.
He, however, said that Pakistan has a lot of potential with its 60 percent of youth population and the incumbent government is committed to support the technology sector and remove obstacles in their way.
This sector, the prime minister said, could also resolve employment issues and would pave way for women staying at home to get jobs through online platforms.
“It is unfortunate that as Pakistan’s exports saw a hike recently, our economy witnessed a shortage of dollars, forcing the country to approach the IMF to bring financial stability,” he said and added that the country’s economy could not grow without an increase in exports.
Imran said that the technology sector could alone pay off the entire debt of the country.
He added that all businesses had faced a slump amid the Covid-19 outbreak, but profits of tech companies like Google, Amazon and others multiplied.
“The technological zones are aimed at bringing ease in the sector and take full advantage of its potential,” the prime minister said and cited examples of China and India,, where their people initially invested in those projects and later foreign investors joined them.
While giving the example of China, the prime minister said that they eliminated corruption through planning and initially terminated 450 ministerial-level people over financial wrongdoings.
“China pulled out 700 million of its population above the poverty line in 40 years,” he said adding it was their exports that made China a global economic power.
Earlier, the prime minister also distributed licences among the companies which would be operating in the Technopolis.
The event also marked the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an investment of $300 million for the establishment of another three technology zones in different parts of the country.
CM Buzdar said Lahore has been selected as the Technopolis considering the existence of universities and other tech institutes as well as companies in the city.
“The project would help carry out technology-based researches and studies,” he said.
In order to attract investment to Technopolis, the government has given a 10-year tax exemption to companies operating there. Companies from various countries like the US, Canada, China and Australia are approaching to invest here, he added.