PM Sheikh Hasina on Monday categorically said the incumbent government made IT education compulsory with a view to making the new generation highly skilled in using technology. She also hoped that the software export income will cross US $250 million in the current fiscal year (2014-15). She also disclosed that the government has fixed to raise the software export income to US $1 billion by 2018 and to raise software and service sector’s contribution in GDP to one percent.
The government has made a commitment to build a digital country by 2021 where everyone including rich and poor, educated and uneducated will get the benefits of technology. The premier, also ruling Awami League president, made the assertion while addressing the inauguration ceremony of four-day long Digital World 2015 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in monday afternoon.
ICT Division and BASIS are jointly organizing the four-day mega event at the BICC to showcase technology-based innovations and achievements aiming to unlock economic potential of IT sector. It is supported by Access to Information (a2i) & Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC).
The theme of the event is “Future is Here”. Prime Minister`s ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy was present at the function as the special guest, while State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak was in the chair. BASIS President Shameem Ahsan delivered the welcome address and ICT Secretary Shayam Sundar Sikder also spoke on the occasion.
A video message of Silicon Valley Congressman of the United Sates Mike Honda was aired at the function.
As a chief guest Sheikh Hasina added, we want to ensure the sustainable use of technology and its availability for the empowerment of people and socio-economic development
The premier also mentioned that the government has established classrooms with multimedia facilities in some 20,000 educational institutions with the view to make the new generation apt in the use of technology. Praising private sectors, the premier said, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) has trained more than 23,000 people for the sector. BASIS is also working on making 1,000,000 internet users within 2018, she added.
She further said, “I feel extreme pain when I see that the innocent people are burnt to death with petrol bomb, the trucks carrying chicks and vehicles carrying textbooks are torched by the terrorists in the name of movement. It is very difficult to believe that people can do such inhuman acts,” she said.
The Prime Minister called upon the countrymen to remain alert and put resistance against those who want to push the country towards darkness from development.
Reaffirming the present government`s commitment to build Digital Bangladesh by 2021, Sheikh Hasina said the goal of the government is to ensure proper utilization of information technology for socioeconomic development and people`s empowerment.
“Our goal is to make available the use of technology for improving the living standard of the people and build a “technology divide”-free country irrespective of the rich and the poor, the literate and illiterate,” she said.
To achieve the goal, she said, her government has been working relentlessly to ensure optimum utilization of mediums like mobile phones, radio, television and internet side by side with computer.
The Prime Minister said her government has taken various steps for development of IT industry and meet the demand of skilled manpower in the sector. In this connection, she mentioned that 34,000 people are being groomed befitting with the IT industry through a project funded by the World Bank.
Sheikh Hasina said the reputation of Bangladesh`s IT sector is on the rise both at home and abroad. Bangladesh`s software and IT services are being exported to about 50 countries of the world.
“The export earnings from the sector are boosting gradually and its average growth rate is 50 percent,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the government has framed the ICT Act and the ICT policy for further development of IT industry.
The Prime Minister also mentioned different measures for development of IT industry. The measures include expansion of e-governance, raising bandwidth capacity of submarine cable, making available internet service by reducing the bandwidth price, launching 3G mobile service, setting up digital centers in 4,547 unions, 321 pourasabhas and 401 wards, arrangement of digital innovation fair and launching of e-service by all district administrations and introduction of the biggest web portal of the world with 25,000 websites.
Noting that Bangladesh`s IT sector is a potential one, Sheikh Hasina said the government is giving attractive incentives to the entrepreneurs side by side with infrastructure facilities to attract foreign investment.
“We are inviting the reputed companies of the world to invest in the IT sector and we are ensuring them to extend allout support,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh`s stride for IT-based development has been able to earn respect from people across the world. In this connection, she referred to the UN South-South Cooperation Visionary Award, WSIS Award from International Telecom Union and Global ICT Excellence Award from the WITSA.
Speaking as the special guest, Sajeeb Wazed Joy said the Awami League-led government introduced 3G technology and will roll out 4G technology soon.
Joy also said under the Leveraging ICT and Earning and Learning Project, 18,000 people have already been given training. “We have a plan to provide training for 50,000 more people under the project,” he said.
The ICT advisor said fibre optic would be reached to all Union Parishads to bring all the people of the country under internet coverage. “None can imagine where Bangladesh would march in terms of development in the IT sector,” he said, adding the IT sector would exceed the RMG sector in terms of foreign currency earnings by 2021.
Later, Sheikh Hasina visited different stalls set up at the BICC on the occasion of the Digital World 2015.