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April 13, 2022 - Farman R Chowdhury, Managing Director and CEO at Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited and Syed Mohammad Kamal, Country Manager of Mastercard Bangladesh, pose for photo after launches the country’s first contactless Islami debit and prepaid cards at a hotel in the capital on Tuesday. Other top officials from both sides were present.
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March 21, 2022 - No cut in VAT on beauty parlour services
March 17, 2022 - Berger inaugurates new flagship outlet in Chittagong
March 17, 2022 - Nagad, Dana enables financial access to the underserved
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March 12, 2022 - Price hike of essentials is as usual, says NBR chairman
March 10, 2022 - Asif Mahmood, Chairman of ADN Group, cutting a cake marking The International Women’s Day 2022 at its head office in the capital on Tuesday. Zahir Ahmed, Shahriar Akbar Chowdhury, Vice Chairmen and other senior officials of the company, were present.
March 10, 2022 - Walton launches panel to ensure welfare, rights of female workers
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March 6, 2022 - Shafaat Ali Choyon, Head of Marketing and Corporate Sales of Praava Health and Rudaba Tazin Aditi, Director (Admin) of Runner Group, exchanging document after signing an agreement in the capital on Wednesday. Under the deal, which all Runner Group and its sister concern employees and their family members will get an exclusive offer on different services from Praava health. Senior officials from both sides were present.
March 6, 2022 - 22-carat gold price jumps to Tk 78,000 a bhori
March 6, 2022 - ICMAB arranges workshop on VAT compliance
March 6, 2022 - Inflation is the ‘cruelest tax’ for marginalised people: SANEM
March 6, 2022 - Taka marks golden jubilee of its inception
March 4, 2022 - ICSB urged upon NBR to bring focus of Corporate Governance in the ensuing National Budget

Marching forward towards a Digital Bangladesh

While addressing the joint celebrations of Digital Bangladesh Day 2021 and Digital Bangladesh Award Distribution Ceremony at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre through a virtual summit – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she is no longer worried about the fulfilment of her Vision 2041 – turning Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country. She applauded the award recipients for gradually realising the dream of a prosperous Bangladesh.

It is indeed encouraging to note that our young innovators are showing growing courage as their talents keep flourishing through innovative schemes. Giving a boost to the ICT sector, the PM also said if digital devices can be produced and exported properly, it may exceed all other sectors, including RMG, in earning foreign currency. However, the ICT sector is the fastest growing among all sectors in our economy. The country has fast emerged as a freelance IT and IT-enabled services outsourcing (ITES) centre.

We acknowledge the abbreviation “ICT” is no longer a luxurious word, rather it has become one of the basic needs during the pandemic time. Online meeting, virtual conference, online education, telemedicine, e-commerce and many other sectors had grown significantly during the last one and a half year, and the country did not come into a complete standstill despite the pandemic.

Although the government’s allocated budget for the ICT sector has increased this year by 690 crores, but it is essential to develop the software development sector coupled with developing skilled human resource, otherwise the backbone of this industry. That said – the hiked up budget does not have a clear breakdown of the allocated amount. Moreover, it is not clear how much has been set aside to procure software and ITES and maintenance.

Undeniably, more local and foreign investments are needed in this sector. In order to attract investors, the tax exemption period should be extended to 2030. The sooner this decision is taken, the more investors will be interested in investing in the sector. We request the government authorities concerned to sincerely consider this suggestion. Another food for thought, if broadband internet services can be expanded to remote areas at an affordable rate, our young people will be able to start their own ventures using internet and start contributing more to the economy. Not to forget, Bangladesh has already become the second-largest supplier of online labour.

Around 500,000 active freelancers are working regularly, out of 650,000 registered freelancers in the country and they are reportedly generating $100 million annually, according to the ICT Division of Bangladesh. Thus, the country has already become a key player in the digital world. Digital economy is shaping the new Bangladesh. Therefore, the corporate tax exemption on internet service providers, also a key stakeholder of the Digital Bangladesh Vision, will lead to infrastructural development and increased employment and economic activities.

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