Bangladesh's ICT entrepreneurs want to be able to invest abroad to brighten up Bangladesh's brand value on the world stage, businessmen in the information technology sector said at the first meeting of the FBCCI Standing Committee on ICT and Digitisation of Trade Bodies.
The meeting was held at the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) on Saturday, read a press release.
Syed Almas Kabir, director in charge of the committee, said that if the government provided the facility for ICT entrepreneurs to invest abroad, global entrepreneurs would be able to learn of the potential of Bangladesh and foreign investment in Bangladesh would also increase.
Chairman of the committee Md Shahid-Ul-Munir said that a request was made to Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) to approve local software companies to invest abroad.
"The circular in this regard issued by Bangladesh Bank recently allowed only exporters for overseas investment," Munir said, calling for reconsideration of this condition.
Speaking as the chief guest at the meeting, FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said that it is very important to digitise all the ministries, departments and agencies of the government to continue the pace of development of the country.
He said that the prime minister has declared ICT services and products as the product of the year 2022. To achieve the five-billion-dollar export target from the IT sector by 2025, government policy support needs to be increased, he added.
Meanwhile, the FBCCI president urged the standing committee to draw up a roadmap to achieve the export target.
Earlier in the meeting, the speakers said that the current Income Tax Ordinance has given tax exemption to the ICT sector till 2024.
They demanded that the exemption be continued till 2030 in the proposed new income tax law in line with the ICT policy.
The discussants also complained that the Public Procurement Act is not being complied with. Although various types of ICT services are readily available in the country, local entrepreneurs are being deprived as the government bodies are keen to invite international tenders. If the law is properly obeyed, investment in the IT sector in the country will increase and it will be possible to further strengthen the "Made in Bangladesh" branding, they added.
Syed Almas Kabir, director in charge of the committee, said several mega projects including Padma Bridge, Metro Rail and Karnafuli Tunnel are being implemented in the country. These projects will require a good number of digital devices and services. He urged the government to buy these products and services from local manufacturers.
A sub-committee was formed at the meeting to prepare draft recommendations for the IT sector for inclusion in the Income Tax Act and the forthcoming budget.
Co-Chairman of the Committee Shoeb Ahmed Masud, Md Motaher Hoshan Khan, Md Nazmul Karim Biswas Kazal, and Secretary-General of FBCCI Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, were present at the meeting among others.