In a landmark achievement, Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan has approved the status of Hi-Tech Special Economic Zone SEZ for National Science & Technology Park (NSTP) located at National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). As per the announcement by Board of Investment (BoI), this approval was granted in the 6th meeting of the Board of Approvals chaired by Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan on October 7, 2020. NSTP has become the only Hi-Tech Special Economic Zone among the 20 SEZs in the country (the remaining being industrial zones). Through this landmark development, National and International Hi-Tech Businesses as well as Small & Medium-sized Enterprises SMEs shall immensely benefit, thereby accelerating Pakistan’s transition into a thriving Knowledge Economy.
SEZs provide a number of economic incentives that are a preferred component of thriving Research and Innovation ecosystems across the world. Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, Special Technology and Hi-Tech Zones, etc., around the globe are some of the economic substructures that have been designed to deliver tax and import stimulants and enhance the germination and development of disruptive technologies and Hi-Tech entities.
The first S&T-based SEZ of the country will witness the transformation of the pilot National Science & Technology Park (NSTP) at NUST (which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in December, 2019) into a full-blown STP with a hosting capacity of 250 industry and R&D partners, becoming the nation’s optimal platform for Research and Innovation. National and international companies working to tap the Fourth Industrial Revolution will now have the most diametrically complete and perfect ecosystem of the country in the form of NSTP, thus contributing towards achieving import substitution and exports.
The award of SEZ will not only catalyse the transformation of NSTP into a national and regional economic hub but also pave the way for similar endeavours elsewhere in Pakistan, improving our Global Innovation Index and catapulting the country among the league of leading knowledge economies of the region and the world.
The author is the Manager Operations at National Science & Technology Park (NSTP), NUST and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org