IT sector to see more govt funds | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 22, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 22, 2010

IT sector to see more govt funds

Call centres and hardware manufacturers will now be able to receive loans from the Equity Entrepreneurship Fund (EEF), as the government is looking to channel more credit into the burgeoning hi-tech sector.
The decade-old fund currently managed by state-owned Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) has so far sanctioned around Tk 77 crore for 46 IT-related projects.
But all the money has been channelled into various local software firms.
However, the finance ministry in a recent letter to Bangladesh Bank said it approved a number of proposals from the central bank on using the EEF-IT fund and amending the related guidelines.
The finance ministry agreed to make call centres eligible for the EEF, while hardware manufacturers were also included in the list.
"Under the latest move, industries that fit into these two categories will be entitled to receive loans from the EEF," said ICB General Manager Md Iftikhar-uz-Zaman.
Under the amended guideline, call centres that are in operation for at least a year can receive loans from the EEF, although the minimum eligibility criteria for all other sectors is at least three years.
By one estimate, more than 30 call centres, mostly in the capital, earned around Tk 15 crore in revenues from overseas clients last year. Most of these centres run on a small or medium scale with an initial investment that does not cross Tk 80 lakh.
In June 2009, the central bank transferred the management of EEF-IT to ICB for better use of government funds.
ICB has since sanctioned around Tk 19 crore for 14 IT related projects, while a total of Tk 1.2 crore has so far been disbursed for two different projects, an ICB official said.
"At least 10 more similar projects are currently in the pipeline," the ICB general manager said. "We aim to disburse at least Tk 100 crore through the EEF fund by the end of the current fiscal year, as we are looking to finance at least 50 such projects in the next one year."

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