‘Digital Bangladesh’ announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been successfully implemented by BASIS members and other industrial actors of the private sector ecosystem. Now is the time to make ‘SMART Bangladesh’ a reality, expects BASIS.
BASIS has organized a program on ‘SMART Bangladesh: Role of ICT Industry’ to highlight the contribution of Software and ITES sector to the national development of Bangladesh. The session also determines the challenges that are needed to be addressed soon with the necessary policy support of the government. The event was held on Sunday, June 12, 2022, at the Grand Ballroom of Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden in the capital.
The success stories of the BASIS member organizations in the implementation of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ have been highlighted in the program. Ms. Samira Zuberi Himika, Senior Vice President, BASIS spoke on e-Governance Sector, Mr. Fahim Ahmed BASIS, Vice President (Finance) on Startup Sector, Mr. Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, Advisor on International Market Development, BASIS and Managing Director, Adcomm Ltd., Mr. Wasim Alim, Founder and CEO, Chaldal.com on E-Commerce Sector, Mr. Nahid Hasan, Chairman of BASIS 4IR Standing Committee on Frontier Technologies, and Mr. Wahidur Rahman Sharif, President, BACCO, spoke on the Contact Center and BPO sector.
Mr. Abu Daud Khan, Vice President (Admin), BASIS moderated a discussion session, ‘SMART Bangladesh: Role of ICT Industry’, participated by Hon’ble Minister Mr. Mustafa Jabbar, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology as the Chief Guest, Hon’ble State Minister Mr. Nasrul Hamid, MP, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, and Hon’ble State Minister Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak, MP, ICT Division as the Special guests, Dr. Rubana Haque, Former President, BGMEA and Vice Chancellor, Asian University for Women as the Guest of Honour. Mr. Mostafa Rafiqul Islam Duke, Managing Director of Flora Telecom Limited was also present as the Guest Speaker. BASIS President Mr. Russell T. Ahmed also took part virtually in the discussion.
During the discussion, Hon’ble Minister Mr. Mustafa Jabbar, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology said, in 2021, we have not only implemented Digital Bangladesh successfully but, we have been able to set some examples for others to follow us. He added, now we have taken initiatives to implement SMART Bangladesh. There are countless examples of success stories in our domestic ICT sector, however, we have millions of times more potential to grow compared to what we have achieved so far. We need to manage robots, create artificial intelligence, and manage hardware to implement all of these we need to adapt ourselves to new technologies. He further said that not only software export is our market, but all kinds of digital activities are also our market. So all of our ICT trade-bodies have to work together. Government will be there to support the ICT sector from all dimensions.
Hon’ble State Minister Mr. Nasrul Hamid, MP, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources said, Bangladesh is the only country in the world where the constitution directs to ensure electricity for all. Present government has successfully ensured this. Our ministry has enormous potential for the development of the IT sector. The IT sector needs to work towards a target of US$ 200 billion, not just US$ 5 billion. Our country has every single opportunity to implement this target now. That opportunity should be utilized through a focused group. Ministry of Power and Energy will provide all possible supports required to make it successful.
Hon’ble State Minister Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology said, the government does not do business but creates a conducive environment for business. By creating a conducive environment through long-term planning, our labor dependent economy has been transformed into a service and technology dependent economy today. Taking into account the policy demands of the IT sector trade organizations including BASIS, and ICT Division– we are all on the same page and pressing it forward to all the concerned leaders of the government including the Finance Minister about extending the corporate tax holiday facility in this sector from 2024 to 2030. He assured the cooperation in establishing a meaningful Research and Development Wing in response to the demands of BASIS President Russell T. Ahmed.
Dr. Rubana Haque, Former President of BGMEA and Vice Chancellor of Asian University for Women said that only 7 percent of automation has been done in our garment industry. By 2030, it would rise to 30 percent. We need to do this automation carefully keeping employment in the right growth. We need smart production system. The IT sector can implement this smart production through new innovations. In the next 10 years, the garment sector will reach a different level, in this case, the IT sector has immense potential. Therefore, the ICT Division and BASIS need to play the leading role to reach out to our needs.
Mr. Russell T. Ahmed, President, BASIS joined virtually in the discussion. He said BASIS is moving forward identifying seven pillars. The most important pillars or issues are human resource development, industry promotion and public-private partnership. In order to develop skilled human resources, we have taken initiative to transform BITM into a university, he added. If we can do that then it will be possible to create qualified manpower in the IT sector like the garments sector. BASIS also wants to set up an integrated research and development wing with government support for industry promotion. Besides, a roadmap is essential for public-private partnerships. In that regard, the BASIS President called for cooperation in all spheres of government including the ICT Division, and the Postal and Telecommunication Division.
One of the highlights of the event was the official inauguration of the “BASIS Contact Center.” The BTRC approved short code (16488) was introduced for the BASIS Contact Center to enable the members of the country’s top IT trade body to communicate with BASIS seamlessly and expeditiously. BASIS expect that it will improve the membership service. The event was sponsored by ADN Telecom and Flora Telecom.