FAISALABAD: Pakistan’s first science, technology and innovation park is set to start functioning by December 5 this year at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Lahore.
It will help the industrial sector switch over to knowledge-based economy with a multi-dimensional chain of value addition.
Speaking at a meeting at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Saturday, PCSIR Chairman Dr Shahzad Alam said another proposal was under consideration to set up a dedicated science and technology park for the textile sector in Faisalabad.
“It provides innovative ideas in addition to upgrading technology and value addition in existing as well as new industrial units,” he said and added over the last 70 years, successive attempts had been made to promote the knowledge-based industry in Pakistan.
The Lahore Knowledge Park started with a funding of Rs1 billion, but its net result was zero. Similarly, Nust and Comsats also proposed feasibility reports involving Rs70 million and Rs55 million respectively for the system which also failed to yield any result, he claimed.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has been briefed about this project which will be funded through our own financial resources,” he said. “We have begun work on it which is expected to be completed within 56 days.”
The PCSIR chairman added that the idea of science and technology park had been coined keeping in view a Chinese model which had four dimensions.
In its first phase, China developed national hi-tech zones. Similarly, local substitutes for different imports were manufactured within the country while new technologies were imported to upgrade the Chinese industrial sector.
He stressed that the model had changed the face of Chinese economy entirely and it had been transformed into a new, dynamic and vibrant economy of the world.
“Now, China has developed vision 2050 which is aimed at making it a global leader in innovation.”
About the upcoming science and technology park, he revealed that initially 15 to 20 industrial units would be provided space and facilities while in the later phase, additional factories could be accommodated.
“PCSIR has a globally accredited lab which has the facility to conduct 472 sophisticated tests,” he said.
Responding to a question about technology transfer, Alam disclosed that the PCSIR had inked agreements with Belarus and China to acquire latest technology in the world which could be provided to local industrialists.
He pointed out that oil of a herb, abundantly available in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), provided the most efficient treatment of cancer and “Germany imports five containers of this plant daily at a throwaway price.”
PCSIR has acquired technology to extract oil. “Similarly, we should not allow exploration and export of raw minerals to foreigners,” he suggested. “We should frame a practical and progressive mineral policy so that our private sector can explore and export it after value addition.”
FCCI President Syed Zia Alamdar Hussain lamented that Pakistan lacked research which was imperative to compete with global rivals. He said Pakistan was an agricultural economy but it had failed to evolve high-yielding varieties of different crops.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2018.