FT Online

Published:
2019-10-17 11:15:10 BdST

Innovators-investors bridge essential for ICT industry’s growth


The first-ever ‘Digital Device and Innovation Expo-2019’ ended here on Wednesday with a pledge to build bridges between innovators and investors for commercialisation of digital innovations and boosting economy of the country.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, among others, spoke at the interactive closing session moderated by Chairman of Daffodil International University (DIU) and Daffodil Family Md Sabur Khan.

Speaking at the function, Palak said they are getting innovations but their commercialisation is a missing which needs to be addressed to help the country emerge as a nation of innovations.

He laid emphasis on building bridges between digital innovators and investors, and linking entrepreneurs to the industry to ensure commercialisation of the innovations.

Shahriar Alam said a strong domestic demand can drive the manufacturing and innovation simultaneously. 

He cited a number of examples and mentioned that Toyota did not manufacture its first car for the American market but for Japanese people.

Shahriar said the domestic environment is so stable in the country that is actually inviting huge investment from abroad, boosting growth and encouraging new entrepreneurs. 

Highlighting government efforts on skill development, he said the way forward is only ‘Made in Bangladesh’ because Bangladesh is truly the fastest growing economy of Asia and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Mentioning that every year around 2 million-plus young jobseekers are entering the job market and they all have a larger responsibility.

Shahriar said Bangladesh, once described as a basket case, is the most successful economy case today. “The (development) journey is on and IT professionals will lead the development.” 

He said the days are not that far away when the next Samsung phone model will be from Bangladesh and the next Toyota car will be from Bangladesh. “The government will help you achieve that.”

Govt doesn’t take 10pc but gives back 10pc

State Minister Palak said it was Bangladesh’s bad luck that Samsung had to go to Vietnam in 2004 when Hawa Bhaban demanded 10 percent commission from Samsung after they wanted to set up manufacturing unit in Bangladesh.

He said Samsung exports US$ 50 billion from Vietnam annually and created 1.60 lakh jobs.

The State Minister also said the current government gives 10 percent cash incentive on exports of hardware, software and services products. 

Sharing a brief success story of Bangladesh’s manufacturing and assembly, he said Bangladesh got tremendous results after the government slashed import duty on 94 components (raw materials) and made the import duty only 1 percent in 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Now 10 companies have started assembling here and some 15 lakh Samsung phones, made in Bangladesh, have been sold this year, said the State Minister.

He said some 50 lakh Walton phones, made in Bangladesh, were sold in the last two years and each month some 30,000 laptops are being manufactured and sold here.

“A few months ago, Bangladesh started exporting laptops to Africa,” Palak said adding that Bangladesh also exported 11 Robots to South Korea.

The State Minister also said Symphony and Samsung will not import any phones after 2020 and the required phones will be made in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), Information Communication Technology (ICT) Division, Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), and Idea Project jointly organised the three-day expo with the theme ‘Made in Bangladesh: Nothing is Impossible’.

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