Contract Signing of National Incubation Centers

The contract signing ceremony for establishment of NICs (National Incubation Centers) in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar was held on June 15, 2017 at Marriot Hotel Islamabad. The contracts were signed between Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) and TPL Trakker for NIC Karachi, Lahore University of Management Sciences LUMS for NIC Lahore and LMKT for NIC Peshawar, respectively. Minister of State for IT & Telecom, Ms. Anusha Rahman Khan, Secretary IT & Telecom, Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan, senior officials of Ministry of IT & Telecom, diplomats and senior executives for IT & Telecom companies were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister said that the development and promotion of Pakistan’s IT sector is an area of priority for the present government. He congratulated the Ministry of IT & Telecom, Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund), and all stakeholders involved in the aforementioned contract signings. He stated that the establishment of the National Incubation Centers would assist in channeling the entrepreneurial drive amongst young graduates of the nation.

The Finance Minister said that government has announced special incentives for the IT sector in the budget for FY 2017-18. He highlighted that the government is setting up an IT Park in Islamabad with the assistance of Korean EXIM Bank. He also said that IT export houses/companies shall be allowed to open Foreign Exchange Accounts in Pakistan going forward. He informed the audience about various measures to promote usage of smartphones in the country. He highlighted that start-up software houses shall be exempted from Income Tax for the first 3 years, and that exports of IT services from Islamabad and other Federal territories shall be exempted from Sales Tax. He said that, in addition to IT companies, these incentives will also be available for IT-enabled services.

Engr. Baligh-ur-Rehman, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training was the chief guest. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman, CEO Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) and Chairman PTA, Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC, Vice Chancellors, start-ups, entrepreneurs, incubators and people from different walks of life were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Engr. Baligh-ur-Rehman, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, reiterated the Government’s resolve to encourage youth to come forward and play their part in not only betterment of their own lives but also the country’s economy through their contributions to growing and emerging market. He said that Government considers them a real asset that could guarantee a bright future.

Minister of State for IT & Telecom Ms. Anusha Rahman said that the launch of the National Incubation Centers in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar is yet another important milestone in the Government of Pakistan’s digital agenda. She highlighted that a National Incubation Centre has already been established in Islamabad. She further said that a comprehensive national level technical training program for freelancers is also being launched this year which will train approximately 1 million freelancers within the span of 2 years. She highlighted that a nation-wide “ICT for Women Entrepreneurship Development Program” has already been launched to tap the entrepreneurial potential of Pakistani women. She said that the program will train a total of 500 women from across the country.

Mr. Yusuf Hussain, CEO Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) said that the National Incubation Centers is the vision of Minister of State for IT & Telecom Ms. Anusha Rahman and we are honored to execute it. We are also launching specialty incubators of IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Robotics. He further stated that Ignite (Formerly National ICT R&D Fund) will be soon renamed as Ignite with a focus on fourth industrial wave technologies.