Looking beyond infrastructure, Punjab builds knowledge park

Published: July 24, 2016
It will be constructed over 852 acres of land and cost $1 billion. PHOTO: FILE

It will be constructed over 852 acres of land and cost $1 billion. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Punjab government has initiated yet another project and this time its scope is not limited to key infrastructure development.

The project is a combination of academia and business and research centres and has the potential to convert the province into a knowledge-based economy.

The $1-billion Lahore Knowledge Park was conceived a few years ago, following which Lahore Knowledge Park Company was established in October 2014 to implement this huge project.

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The management, which has almost completed its groundwork, is hopeful infrastructure work will commence by September this year and within the next 18 months, its first phase consisting of basic infrastructure facilities along with a couple of life-sciences universities will be completed, hence paving the way for private investment in the project.

“It is a very interesting concept from which the entire world is benefitting,” said Lahore Knowledge Park Chief Executive Officer Shahid Zaman while talking to The Express Tribune.

He said the project had been designed on the public-private partnership model where the Punjab government would spend 20% and the remaining 80% equity would be invested by the private sector over a span of 25 years.

“Lahore Knowledge Park will be a fourth generation park being established over 852 acres of land located a few kilometres from the Pak-India border. It will consist of universities and schools, science and innovation hubs, a retail and central business district, a residential district, an entertainment zone and green areas,” said Zaman while giving details.

“The project will serve as a growth engine for Lahore as it will promote education in five key areas, namely, life sciences and bio-technology, design and creative industry, information technology, computer sciences and science and engineering,” he added.

The financial plan of the knowledge park has been designed by Singapore-based company Frost and Sullivan. Once completed, it is estimated, the project will generate around Rs173 billion in labour income and Rs35 billion in tax revenue.

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The total revenue over a period of 25 years is expected to be Rs5.9 trillion, Rs253 billion in labour income and Rs178 billion in corporate income taxes.

“The project has gained immense popularity among local and international investors and a couple of foreign firms have offered to invest the entire equity of $1 billion, however, we as a government want to keep the operational control and encourage more investors to bring their experience and innovation to this park,” said Zaman.

“The project, once operational, will create 40,000 jobs and produce 11,200 PhDs by 2040.”

“I think there is no need for the government to invest more, especially in the first phase that includes basic infrastructure and a couple of universities, since we have been approached by eight to 10 universities willing to open their campuses at the park,” said board member and entrepreneur Almas Hyder.

He said since it was a long-term project, successive governments would have to amend their rules and regulations accordingly for its sustainability.

Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) Vice Chancellor and Lahore Knowledge Park Board Member Dr Sohail Naqvi said it all depended on the governments as to how much they intended to invest in higher education.

“The spending has increased over the years and we may see more of such knowledge parks in the future.”

He said the knowledge park board had seasoned and experienced members and the change in governments would not affect the project.

“The project is valuable and attitudes of the governments are now changing; politicians now continue the projects, the main example of which is the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).”

The writer is a staff correspondent

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • just_someone
    Jul 25, 2016 - 5:10AM

    why lahore only, what about rest of punjab?
    punjab govt is not just for lahore, its for whole punjab…Recommend

  • Humza
    Jul 25, 2016 - 8:57AM

    @just_someone: Give it a rest. The rest of Punjab has also seen great improvement. Visit Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Multan or Faisalabad if you are not convinced about the development in all these cities and no I am not from Lahore.Recommend

  • Jalandhar Sandhu
    Jul 25, 2016 - 9:02AM

    Dear CM, Invest the $1bn into the failing schools of metropolitan and rural Punjab. Mothers fathers and students will give you much more blessings because you will be taking steps to build the basic education infrastructure not just a incompetent PHD factory. Many of such from University of Lahore to Iqra exist today and are completely useless.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jul 25, 2016 - 9:32AM

    @just_someone Why New York only? Why are 80% of international financial transactions made in New York only? Why Tokyo? Why are more than half of Japans universities and restaurants in Tokyo only? Why London? Why 80% of British income reside in London? Why..why…why??? Because dear that is how the world works! Recommend

  • Hatim
    Jul 25, 2016 - 9:34AM

    Disappointing that all of Punjab budget is spent on Lahore alone. Still better than Sindh with no development at all. Recommend

  • Talha
    Jul 25, 2016 - 10:43AM

    Good job by Punjab government but they should concentrate on other big cities of Punjab like Rawalpindi,Faisalabad,Multan etc….Recommend

  • Jul 25, 2016 - 11:47AM

    Lahore should be developed….but other cities should also be considered Recommend

  • seaman
    Jul 25, 2016 - 11:50AM

    If the government builds roads, just someone, will say :”why roads, why not schools and colleges” and the government builds a knowledge park and “just someone” starts to parrot why Lahore why not whole punjab. The facilities available in New York City are more than the rest of the state , same is the case with Shanghai. State can decide where to invest money and how much money , you will have your say in 2018 , if you do not like what the state is doing. Recommend

  • S Qureshi
    Jul 25, 2016 - 11:53AM

    There are 36 districts of Punjab. Land is much very cheap in other districts. It should not be built near border, investors look at risk factor too. If govt develops it in a central place more people can benefit.Recommend

  • bilal hassan
    Jul 25, 2016 - 2:08PM

    After a long time I am impressed by a move taken by Punjab Government.all the credit goes to the Punjab Government . I think Shehbaz Sharif has realized the worth of higher education and it is not too late . So once again hats off to Mr.Sharif……Recommend

  • Arslan Shahid
    Jul 25, 2016 - 3:25PM

    Shut up and get to work in KPK!Recommend

  • Shaur ul Asar
    Jul 25, 2016 - 5:29PM

    Is this going to be built in DHA, Phase 7, Lahore? Please confirm.Recommend

  • abood
    Jul 27, 2016 - 12:13AM

    To alll those saying why lahore.The answer is its developed and its infrastructure supports it.you will all have a chance to go and get educated there.so whats the problem.i am from pindi but i agree it will be foolish to make such parks in pindi.
    Great work shahbz sharif.now if some one can compare the state of education with kpk and other provinces.??Recommend

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