State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak has declared the IT zone of the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Chattogram a private high-tech park.
He stated this at a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, Startup Bangladesh Limited and the KEPZ at the latter's auditorium in Anwara, Chattogram on Monday.
Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Managing Director (Secretary) Hosne Ara Begum, Startup Bangladesh Managing Director Tina F Jabin and Chairman and CEO of the KEPZ Kihak Sang signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak was present as the chief guest at the event.
Among others, South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Zhang-kyun, Senior Secretary of the ICT Department NM Ziaul Alam and other officials concerned spoke at the event.
Under the agreement, the Hi-Tech Park proposed by the KEPZ, on an area of about 100 acres, was declared a private Hi-Tech Park by the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority. It will also provide policy support for investment. The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority will assist in setting up specialised labs in the KEPZ. At the same time, various facilities, including training, will be provided to the entrepreneurs.
Speaking as the chief guest at the event, State Minister Palak declared the IT zone of the KEPZ a private high-tech park and said it would increase foreign investment in the country's IT sector.
He said the high-tech park will play an important role in accelerating private investment and building digital entrepreneurship through creating an innovation ecosystem in the country.
"We want our young generation to be more focused on job creation instead of looking for jobs," he added.
He said that scale-up programmes, training, coaching, and mentoring for entrepreneurs and start-ups will be conducted by Startup Bangladesh Limited.
Palak continued that IT business incubators are being set up in various universities with the aim of working with high technology – including IoT, robotics and cyber security – to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
"As part of this, the work of setting up an IT business incubator at Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology is going on in full swing. Meanwhile, the construction of a software technology park has been completed through the upward expansion of the Singapore-Bangkok market. Additionally, work is underway to set up Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center at Chandgaon in Chattogram," he continued.
"Once these projects are implemented, the port city and the commercial capital of the country Chattogram will become an IT city. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina allotted 2,500 acres of land in Chattogram in 1999 to set up the KEPZ to attract foreign investment in the country. Currently, the KEPZ has more than 25,000 jobs," he added.
"A total of 39 high-tech parks are being set up in the country. At the moment, business has started in five high-tech parks that are ready for investment. About Tk327 crore has been invested in various parks of the country from the private sector, besides creating employment for 13,000 youths," he said.
The state minister further said that declaring the KEPZ a private high-tech park will create more than 20,000 jobs and the country's ICT industry will further expand with the joint efforts of government and private enterprises.
Earlier, the state minister visited various factories of the KEPZ.