Government may extend tax holiday for software companies to 10 years
ISLAMABAD- The government is seriously considering to extend tax holiday to 10 years for software companies to promote investment in Information Technology (IT) sector, Minister for Science and Technology Dr Atta-ur-Rehman said.
“We have already given 5-year tax holiday and now seriously thinking to extend it to 10 years to attract more investment in the Information Technology (IT) sector,” he said while launching the IT Commerce and Network (TCN) Exhibition and Conference here.
The mega event (ITCH Asia 2001) jointly organised by Ministry of Science (Pakistan), CommerceNet Singapore, E-commerce Gateway and US Publishers, will be held in Karachi from March 24-26.
The government, he said, intends to make Pakistan the Export Processing Zone for the IT and have offered a number of unprecedented incentives to attract the foreign investors here. The duty has been reduced on computers and its spare parts and the Internet bandwidth rate have been drastically reduced to $3,000 per megabyte per month form $15,000. This rate stood at more than $ 1 00,000 last year.
The Minister described a comprehensive infrastructure as indispensable for the growth of Information Technology (IT).
He informed that several teams from China, France and other countries are carrying out studies for a high-speed Internet access in the country.
Internet facility is now available to some 360 towns and cities which was restricted to only 29 cities 10 months ago, he said. “Now 0 percent population have access to the internet.” Internet kiosks are being installed at 118 petrol stations, as part of the policy of universality of Internet, and by March 21, some 71 such kiosks will be set up at the airports, he added.
Dr Atta also informed the delegates that three software technological parks have been set up in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and there were a couple of similar parks being established in Karachi and Lahore.
The minister underlined the importance of quality education and said Pakistan cannot be a serious player of IT without having the requisite number of IT professionals. “We have therefore allocated 70 percent of the available funds towards education,” he added.
The Chief Executive of CommerceNet Singapore, Wong Jeh Shyan in his remark said, Pakistan is emerging in IT in a big way and the available potential will transform the country in the vital sector.
He said there are increasing signals from Pakistan, showing the seriousness of business contacts in the IT. Shyan urged the diplomatic community, present on the occasion, to call their people to come and see what Pakistan offers in IT.
Source: Business Recorder