With the growing market for data centres in Bangladesh and with the introduction of the Hi-Tech parks, the Government of Bangladesh has moved many inches closer to its vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, Managing Director (Grade 1), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority in his keynote session at South Asia Digital Week 2022 Bangladesh edition shared his insights into the government’s plans to make investments for large-scale technology-based projects, especially for data centre, the opportunities public and the private sector have in attracting foreign investments in Bangladesh and other plans.
“Bangladesh is the second-largest digital workforce supplier of the world, fifth-highest national internet user base in Asia, has the seventh-largest data center of the world, ninth highest mobile phone users in the world and ninth-highest social media user in the world,” said Ghosh.
He further added that the National budget for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has been set at over $255 million. Apart from this, there is a budget allocation for ICT industry export which is over 1.6 billion, over $435 million for startup investment, over $419 million for Hi-Tech FDI and over $750 million for digital outsourcing.
Emerging markets and Digital connectivity
The digital market in Bangladesh has been on a constant rise, the current market size of the digital commerce industry is at $3.1 billion and is expected to grow further. In the digital finance sector, 72 per cent of digital transactions are done via Mobile Financial Services (MFS); there are over 102 million MFS users and over 10 million daily transactions and more than 15 banks integrated with over $200 million daily transactions.
“By the end of this year or the beginning of next year, the educational institutes will be connected to optical fiber cables. Coding will also be introduced for the students and all educational institutions will have digital labs,” said Ghosh.
He further pointed out that apart from this, each district will have a Hi-Tech park which will generate more than twenty thousand employment opportunities and by 2030 Hi-Tech parks will be created all over Bangladesh. The major focus area of the government is the development of digital infrastructure.
Over 6.6 lakh youth have been trained in ICT Skills by ICT Division, more than 33,000 of the total youth trained on Hi-Tech Skills by BHTPA, and more than 7.5 lakh of total freelancers have been created. More than 2600 unions are connected by Info Sarkar Project. The Info Sarkar Project under ICT division (BCC) of Bangladesh Government is a benchmark initiative of Bangladesh Government to make Bangladesh digital by connecting all its people, organisations and resources of all tiers through the internet.
Over 600 Unions have been Initiated by ‘Connected Bangladesh’ which is a project to ensure internet facilities in all schools, colleges, madrasas, growth centres, and telecom operators in remote areas.
The Government of Bangladesh will be providing various incentives to investors which include 10 years of corporate tax exemption on IT/ITES companies and 12 years for park developers, exemption of Income Tax on expatriate professionals for 3 years, import duty exemption of capital machinery and assets, 100 per cent equity is allowed for foreign companies; no cap on FDI limits, bonded warehouse facility for the companies in the Hi-Tech parks, VAT exemption on utilities uses, easy exit option, exemption on stamp duty and registration fee for land registration, 100 per cent profit repatriation and exemption on double taxation.
“Apart from these there are also cheaper land and space leases, easy access to market and academia, transportation & utility support, free employee training programs, public-private partnership opportunities, talented and skilled workforces and Low cost of doing business,” concluded Ghosh.