KARACHI: The government of Pakistan-envisaging its vision to become a top 25 global economy and join the league of upper-middle income countries by 2025 with ‘Pakistan Vision 2025’-is reportedly fully geared up to establish information technology (IT) park in Islamabad. In this connection, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has invited request for proposals (RFP) for procurement of consultancy services for undertaking environmental impact assessment (EIA) for technology park development project Islamabad. According to the RFP document, the project site is situated in Chak Shahzad, 8km away from Islamabad. The project site includes an area of 60,000m2 while the total size of technology park area would be 190,000m2. The whole area is planned to be developed as the IT focused technology innovation cluster and will be developed gradually as phase 1 includes developing an area of 60,247.69m2 or 14.9acre and phase 2 includes an area of 134,936.50m2 or 33.34acre. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication said the new IT park building will provide facilities at a reasonable price to promote innovation. In the technology park, the IT companies will be provided with community facility, IT infrastructure, stable power supply and internet connectivity, accommodations and leisure facilities, and ensured security from terror attacks or other kinds of threats. “Information and communication technology (ICT) is the key driver of innovation, economic competitiveness, and greater social inclusion. However, the government evaluates that the country’s potential of ICT is not sufficiently leveraged,” said the ministry, According to the ministry, the software sector had shown 41 percent export growth during the year 2014-15. The software sector ranked the highest in terms of the export volume. The IT export volume in 2015 estimated to be $2,110 million. From 2011-15, it grew 23 percent annually in average. “Pakistan’s software industry has skilled and cheap ICT workforces, abundant English speaking youth population, entrepreneurship, strategic location neighbouring with India/China. However, lack of infrastructure, lack of appropriate ICT policies, weak cooperation between industry and academia, insufficient research and development (R&D) investments, lack of appropriate governance and taxation, poor business environment, and negative country image have impeded ICT growth in Pakistan,” said Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication. It is pertinent to mention that information technology park is being established by financing from Export-Import Bank of Korea through economic development cooperation fund (EDCF). The cost estimate for the first phase is $88.25 million for which loan agreements has already been signed. Work on IT parks in Lahore and Karachi would also be started soon, the ministry said. Published in Daily Times, November 10th 2017.