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Home » Industry News » Details
09 Jun 2012
ICT still neglected

The government's vision of a 'Digital Bangladesh' is not reflected in the proposed budget as there is no specific focus on the information technology sector, said analysts.


The government framed an ICT (information and communication technology) policy in 2009 after coming to power but it never tried to fulfil its pledges through proper budget allocation, they said.


They said the government was supposed to allocate 1 percent of revenue budget and 3 percent of the development budget for the ICT sector, according to the policy, but that never happened.


"The government has proposed to allocate Tk 294 crore as development budget for the newly formed ICT ministry, which is a hope for the sector. Last year the government allocated Tk 118 crore for the ICT and science ministry," said Mahboob Zaman, president of Bangladesh Association Software and Information Services (BASIS).


But there is no detailed break-up of the amount allocated, and in Zaman's opinion it just a follow-up to the previous years.


He said the government did not allocate fund for developing more IT professionals or for the development of the IT and related industry. The industry leaders had earlier asked for a "code number" for software exports but the government is yet to respond to the appeal.


As a result, software exports are named as consultation, service providers or suppliers, he said.


“We don't want tax exemption; we want infrastructure support from the government. It should be considered as investment,” said Akhtaruzzaman Manju, president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB).


There was a demand from the IT industry for withdrawing the current 15 percent VAT applicable to internet use. It would increase usage, but the government did not consider it, he said.


However, the government has taken initiatives to open Janata Tower at Karwan Bazar as a Software Park this year, which is good news for the sector. Moreover, the office for a Hi-tech Park has also been established, said Zaman.



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