Sunday, 14 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Local procurement of more software will boost ICT sector

Published : Thursday, 13 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 74

The government should allocate at least 10 percent of development budgets of all ministries and their affiliated bodies for dedicated procurement of software and IT enabled services (ITES) from domestic IT companies, said executive director of Policy Research Institute Ahsan H Mansur.

Its limited procurement from local companies restricts the growth and international recognition of local IT companies, he said.

He suggested joint ventures could be formed to implement big IT projects undertaken by the government, bolstering the survival and recognition of local software companies.

Mansur made these observations while presenting the keynote at a roundtable, titled "Importance of ICT for Economic Growth in Bangladesh", organised by Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) at its auditorium in Dhaka.

The ICT sector has emerged as the nucleus of industrial manufacturing and exporting, agricultural progress and service sectors uninterrupted quality delivery processes, he said.

"ICT, as a cross-cutting sector, is the cornerstone upon which the efficiency and productivity of all other sectors depend. Speaking about the challenges the ICT sector in Bangladesh is facing, Mansur highlighted lack of digital literacy and infrastructure as one of them.

There is a significant gap in digital literacy within the population hampering the effective utilisation of ICT tools and services. Its development would increase incomes through freelance and inflow remittances and increase household income across the country.

On the other hand, inadequate ICT infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, limits the reach and impact of digital services as it leads to unstable internet connections and unreliable power supply. Reducing this would help bridge the rural-urban digital divide, he said.

He proposed to form a Tk 300 crore fund through which loans can be offered at modest interest rates of 2-5 percent to women entrepreneurs to bolster the ICT sector. He urged the finance ministry and Bangladesh Bank to look at the ICT sector in a new light.

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