Pakistan sets $20B investment target for IT sector

Pakistan sets $20B investment target for IT sector

South Asian nation establishes Special Investment Facilitation Council to attract FDI

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - Pakistan is aiming to attract up to $20 billion of foreign investment in the IT sector and increase its exports over the next two to three years, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said.

"This is something doable, it's difficult but not impossible. We have to achieve this target under all circumstances," he said Thursday in a seminar on untapping the IT potential of Pakistan held under the banner of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), which was set up in June.

In a tweet after the event, Sharif said the country "has all the ingredients to increase its IT exports to the tune of $25 billion in two to three years."

"Investment in the information technology sector can fetch quick rewards and dividends and go a long way in addressing our unemployment problem," he added.

Under the SIFC, there will be apex, executive, and implementation committees, which will cut red tape and establish a one-window system to facilitate foreign investors. It also includes Gen. Asim Munir, Pakistan’s powerful army chief.

"Governments may come and go but the economic revival plan will be implemented with the same energy and passion. The IT industry will have all the facilitation it needs to grow under a one-window arrangement," Sharif said, adding that it was "now on the industry leaders to make most of the opportunity."

IT and Telecom Minister Syed Aminul Haque said the SIFC is a step forward to promote and showcase the IT industry, attract foreign direct investment, generate employment opportunities and led to a boost in IT exports.

The country's IT industry also welcomed the initiative, with Zohaib Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Software Houses Association, saying: "Pakistan is a land of opportunities, our innovation potential is huge, we have high hopes that SIFC will introduce necessary policy reforms which are critical for growth."

The South Asian nation is facing political and economic crisis since the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-trust vote in April last year.

But last month, it signed a $3 billion stand-by arrangement with the IMF, which provided much-needed economic relief.

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