For the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in order to attract investment in IT and related services, the government has given priority to the establishment of a model information and communications technology (ICT) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Islamabad.
According to a local newspaper, in order to ensure early implementation of the special zones program, the government has designated four SEZs as a top priority for immediate groundbreaking.
The four SEZs are at the China Special Economic Zone at Dhabeji Thatta, Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3) in Faisalabad, Rashakai Economic Zone on M-1 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and model ICT Zone in Islamabad Capital Territory for IT and related services.
Furthermore, to implement the strategy the cabinet has also approved an agreement for the ICT talent development program between Huawei Technology Pakistan and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for boosting IT-related exports.
The data by the State Bank of Pakistan states the export of IT and related services has increased to $1.067 billion in financial year 2017-18 compared with $939 million in 2016-17, registering a double-digit growth of 13%.
Officials according to the local news state nine potential sites in all provinces and special regions including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and tribal areas have been approved for setting up SEZs. Other SEZ include Bostan Industrial Zone in Balochistan, Moqpondass Gilgit Zone, an industrial park on Pakistan Steel Mills’ land at Port Qasim near Karachi, and a SEZ in Mirpur and Mohmand Marble City in tribal areas. Each economic zone will target specific products and services based on availability human resources and raw materials.
Moreover, the present government also wants the relocation of Chinese labor-intensive industries and wants to see China shift some industrial units of both smaller and larger scales to the special zones in an effort to provide employment opportunities for the local population.