ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF), in a meeting held with Chairman of Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) Amer Hashmi and his team, identified and discussed investment opportunities that may foster innovation and promote a technology-driven knowledge ecosystem. The delegation consisted of APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood and general secretary Khurram Niaz Khan.
Amer Hashmi informed the delegation about the government’s commitment to facilitating global venture investment in Special Technology Zones in the country.
The STZA team briefed the APBF office-bearers about the Special Technology Zones created by the government of Pakistan to attract foreign direct investment, allow technology transfer, boost technology exports, prioritize research and development, and foster job creation for Pakistani youth.
Amer Hashmi observed that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued a mandate to establish the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA), which will provide legislative and institutional support for the development of the national technology sector. This body will work to encourage modern innovative solutions and futuristic entrepreneurship. He said that the authority would develop STZs across Pakistan, provide special incentives to attract investors, builders, and technology companies to partner with the government, and also provide a one-window facilitation to local and international companies in the STZs. He also briefed the APBF delegation on the investment pipeline developed through Expo 2020 Dubai as well as during the Pakistan Tech Summit held in Istanbul. As a result of the efforts of STZA, several SMEs and startups, as well as universities and venture capital fund managers have planned to enter into the zones.
APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood, on this occasion, appreciated STZA Chairman on the progress of the Special Technology Zones and expressed the hope that the plan of rollout of technology zones in all major cities of Pakistan will be successful very soon. He also briefed Amer Hashmi about the initiatives taken by APBF to support business community of Pakistan through B2B meetings, Joint Ventures, Technology Transfers and right match making with the foreign companies.
He pledged that the APBF and STZA would join hands to take solid measures to strengthen the industry, especially the SMEs, saving the livelihood of millions of workers associated with the small industries. He said that the small and medium enterprises are backbone of the economy and their role was crucial for economic development. He said that major issue of the SMEs is limited access to the financing, as just 5-7% of the total lending to the private sector was being given to them while the number of SME borrowers are below 0.2 million, which should be increased. He said that the government should announce special incentives for a cash-strapped Small and Medium Industry, which represents more than 90 percent of around 3.2 million business enterprises in Pakistan, contributing 40 percent to the GDP, employing more than 80 percent of non-agricultural workforce, and generating 25 percent of export earnings.
APBF President said that the Forum every year submits comprehensive proposals for the federal as well provincial budgets with main objective of bringing liberal investment policy, infrastructure development, broadening of tax base and creating jobs through industrialization. The APBF offers its inputs for government policies, incorporating feedback received from business community on hosts of sectors from all over the country.