The Information and Communication Division (ICT) will apply to the finance ministry seeking extension of corporate tax waiver for information technology firms from 2024 till 2030.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the ICT state minister, on Sunday during a meeting with the newly elected executive committee of Basis, chaired by its President Russell T Ahmed, said more benefits need to be given to the IT sector to reach the target of $5 billion export by 2025.
At the meeting, the ICT Division and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) pledged to work together to implement the 2041 Vision announced by the government of expanding local and international markets, industry branding, policy support and creating a business-friendly environment.
Palak said that importance has been given to the IT sector by declaring information technology as the product of the year. "To take advantage of these opportunities, we will work with Basis in a public-private joint venture to create skilled human resources, policy formulation and revision, technology and innovation, investment and coordination. We will have a joint working group," he said.
Palak added that 13 years ago, the export revenue in the ICT sector was only $26 million, but now, as a result of policy support and infrastructural development, the ICT industry was generating $1.3 billion in export earnings.
The minister said the government's policy support had resulted in over $800 million in foreign investment in the ICT sector in the last five years, which would increase in the future.
He added that the government is setting up 39 high-tech parks across the country, with the Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation being conducted in 64 districts. In all, 134 infrastructures are being constructed in the high-tech parks.
"We need to build skilled human resources now," he said, adding that sustainable development was not possible without a knowledge-based economy.
"After Digital Bangladesh, we will go for Innovative Bangladesh. For that, I will form a joint working group with Basis. The working group will work on various issues including education, health and trade."
Palak said the government was working to take the ICT sector forward and Startup Bangladesh Limited, a state-owned venture capital company, was investing in startups.
The company, under the ICT Division, had already invested in seven companies including Pathao Limited, Seba XYZ, Mind Friend and others.
He said the government had a fund of Tk500 crore for this and more would be invested, adding that Basis members were getting loans at 4% interest without collateral.
At the exchange of views, Basis President Russell T Ahmed said, "We are lucky to get a lot without asking. At the beginning of the year, the prime minister declared IT as the product of the year. It is a great achievement for us. We are working to implement this declaration."
Senior Secretary of the ICT Division NM Ziaul Alam PAA, Additional Secretary Md Khairul Amin, and Managing Director and Additional Secretary of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Bikarna Kumar Ghosh were present at the occasion.