The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has simplified the procedure of cash incentive for freelancers, who are working with software and IT-related services on different international marketplaces for global clients, against their foreign currency earnings up to $5,000.
The Foreign Exchange Policy Department of the central bank on Sunday issued a circular in this regard, with which it lifted the existing requirement of having "telegraphic-transfer messages" from the clients (importers) mentioning the details of the trade, for the stimulus incentive.
"As the freelancing jobs have no formal agreement, it is very tough for freelancers to fulfil all the existing requirements to avail the government incentive, which is why we simplified the procedure," said a senior BB official, not willing to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
The official familiar with the matter told The Business Standard that the much-sought-after move was taken as per the recommendation from the ministry concerned.
He hoped that more freelancers would be able to receive the incentive.
The government has been providing a 4% cash incentive to the freelancers against their earnings by exporting services since September last year (2021) to patronise the online workers and lure more youths into the sector.
According to the latest circular that came into effect on Sunday, the government from now will provide the incentive just after verifying the freelancers' claimed earnings. Earlier, it required a lot of documents.
However, the marketplace from where freelancers earn foreign currency should have been recognised by the Information and Communication Technology Division.
To claim the incentive, the freelancers have to submit evidence of earnings, the weblinks and other audit trails to verify those.
The central bank termed the freelancers' exporting products as "software and information technology-enabled services", which includes digital content development and management, animation (both 2D and 3D), geographic information services, IT support and software maintenance services, website services, business process outsourcing, data entry, data processing, call centre, graphics design (digital service), search engine optimization, web listing, e-commerce and online shopping, document conversion, imaging and archiving, software or application customization, website development, website hosting, digital data analytics, software test lab services, overseas medical transcription, robotics process outsourcing, and cyber security services.
Freelancers say exporting services is more important as it does not require importing raw materials, unlike exporting goods.
The country is now receiving nearly $300 million through banking channels with the ICT service exports.