Bangladeshi companies need to compete with their Indian and Vietnamese counterparts without compromising on prices to achieve their target of earning $5 billion from exports from the industry by 2023, said experts yesterday.
“Bangladesh needs to brand itself in the ICT world as a quality market but not by reconsidering the prices,” said Mehedi Masud, chief operating officer of BJIT.
Masud’s comments came in a seminar titled “Road to Journey of $5 billion export” at the BASIS SoftExpo that is currently being held at the International Convention City Bashundhara.
“Everyone wants to expand their business on a ‘green field’ but it will be tough to get a virgin market these days.”
The quality of products from Bangladeshi developers is not so poor.
“So they need to have the courage to face India and Vietnam even in a developed market.”
Using exports to draw $5 billion is definitely an easily achievable target but without attaining a certain quality it will be tough to do so, Masud added.
Raisul Kabir, chief executive officer of Brain Station-23, a leading software developing firm that exports huge amounts of ICT products to different counties, mentioned of the shortage of quality manpower.
“We are not getting adequate supply of quality manpower to run our business, which will play a vital role in achieving the target.”
The government is running different skill development programmes but that doesn’t ensure quality, Kabir added. M Manjur Mahmud, director and chief operating officer of DataSoft, pointed out the lack of proper marketing and branding for Bangladeshi products in the international market.
“Bangladesh has not properly invested in the market. Therefore, only fixing a target is not sufficient unless we act on it without being inefficient,” Mahmud added.
The industry has a lot left to accomplish at the international level but it is also true that Bangladesh has already been established as an “ICT hub”, said Rashad Kabir, managing director of Dream71.
Kabir also urged companies to maintain proper documentation as it will help them get more promising orders from abroad.
Prince Mojumder, co-founder and CEO of Genex Infosys, proposed that the government fix the infrastructure issue first.
Establishing a business setup in Bangladesh is very costly but the government has a role to play here.
Providing IT facilities at the district level might be important but before that, setting up few a tech parks where established companies could expand their businesses would help them achieve the target.
“$5 billion is a very minimum target. India has companies that earn that much revenue each year solely from outsourced projects.”
Mojumder also requested the government to finalise a market standard so that even local companies do not compromise their quality in the name of competition.
Various entrepreneurs also requested the government to eradicate any harassment they may face, effectively helping their firms to grow.
Wahid Sharif, president of the Bangladesh Association of Call Centres and Outsourcing (BACCO), said although they run a tax exempted business, the National Board of Revenue suddenly demanded Tk 2 crore in taxes.
Resolving the issue was a lengthy process and he faced harassment from different quarters in the process, Sharif added.
The government’s previous objective to earn $1 billion from the export of ICT products by 2021 has already been achieved.
To attain their current goal, the government recently targeted 60 countries as export destinations, said numerous speakers during the session.