PITB’s 5th Roundtable Conference was held on Monday, 8th of January, 2018 at Arfa Software Technology Park which was chaired by Dr. Umar Saif Chairman PITB in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA).
Round Table Conference, a semi-annual event is conducted by TechHub Connect — a coworking space which has spearheaded several initiatives for promotion of tech in Pakistan. These Round Table Conferences are being organized for the past 2 years to provide a platform to the leaders from all three sectors namely Government, Industry and Academia for a discourse on the issues pertinent to the IT industry of the country. This exercise is helpful in defining the roadmap for the progress of the IT industry along with that of Punjab and Pakistan.
The conference was attended by 120+ CEOs of leading IT companies and Vice Chancellors from the academia.
IT Special Economic Zones
This time the focus was on devising a sustainable framework for dedicated IT Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Pakistan. It was announced that 50 acres of land will be allocated in Lahore for this purpose. Under this model, land and other utilities shall be provided at subsidized rates. In addition to this, there will be a one-time exemption from custom duties and taxes on import of plant and machinery, along with exemption from all taxes on income for the next 10 years. PITB shall be working with Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) to amend the minimum land requirement in SEZ rules.
Dr. Umar Saif, while chairing the meeting, said,
“SEZ’s are the backbone of the economy and soon through the hard work of the IT industry, Pakistan will be at the forefront of innovation.”
Another agenda item was a discussion on the issues pertinent to the cybersecurity. PITB after taking consent from the stakeholders launched a Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT) which would act as an advisory body and provide suggestions on how to deal with cyber threats.
Facilitation of Taxation Issues
It was also agreed that PITB will build a one window facilitation cell (Helpline: 042-99030086) with the help of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), where IT industry can report their taxation issues. Addressing the concerns of the telecom sector, Dr. Umar Saif announced the provision of ducting facility alongside roads in order to provide the right of way for the relevant companies.