Bangladesh's ICT sector will play an important role in diversifying the country's export basket in the coming days, according to Salman F Rahman, the prime minister's private industry and investment adviser.
"The ICT industry will also push forward the fourth industrial revolution in Bangladesh. Besides, the sector has already begun to adopt the revolution amid the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.
Rahman made these comments during a virtual ceremony held yesterday, where the Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) and Prime Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on their 'Prime Bank-BCS Alliance to Facilitate MSME Financing to ICT Industry' initiative.
Rahel Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer of Prime Bank, and BCS President Md Shahid-ul-Munir then launched the alliance aimed at providing financial solutions to ICT companies.
The move comes as part of the government's plan to stimulate the growth of small and medium enterprises that create a considerable amount of employment opportunities and put a positive impact on the economy.
Similar support will be extended to the freelancing sector as it has shown potential for gain, Rahman said.
In regards to the IT industry, Rahman said that around 95 per cent of the country's IT entrepreneurs fall under the SME category.
According the prime minister's adviser, Bangladesh Bank will announce another Tk 2,000 crore package, from which BCS members in the SME sector can avail loans.
However, Rahman urged the BCS to ensure that its members do not fail to continue their businesses or become defaulters in the process.
Rahman also showed appreciation for the management at Prime Bank and their continued support for the promising sector, which will contribute to employment generation in the future.
Prime Bank CEO Ahmed said that the lender has provided support for various sectors over the past 25 years but is now giving importance to SMEs, including those in the IT industry.
Ahmed also informed that in the last month or so, Prime Bank has disbursed Tk 5 crore from the previously announced stimulus package as loans for SMEs.
"The ICT hardware and accessories industry holds immense potential to become a game changer for Bangladesh's economy. We are so proud that we have been able to form partnerships with key trade associations in the field of ICT and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES)," said Ahmed.
The partnership between BCS and Prime Bank will help facilitate the development of a business ecosystem where thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the ICT industry, who are members of the trade association, can flourish.
Besides, Prime Bank is the only bank in Bangladesh to have formed financial alliances with key trade associations in the ICT and ITES fields, according to Ahmed.
He also said the move will be a big boost for the country's booming ICT/ITES industry as eligible BCS members can now avail collateral-free loans of up to Tk 50 lakh alongside other tailor-made financing solutions.
BCS President Munir said that the IT sector has created around 60,000 opportunities for direct employment and is trying to develop skilled manpower.
Conducted by Nazmul Karim Chowdhury, head of brand and communication at Prime Bank, the programme was also addressed by Md Jabedur Rahman Shaheen, vice president of BCS, and Syed M Omar Tayub, head of MSME Banking at the bank.