Software export exceeds target
The country's software and IT enabled service (ITES) sector has been growing rapidly, with the export of software exceeding the target.
The country fetched US$ 33 million by exporting software in the last fiscal year, Habibullah N Karim, president of Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS), told this news agency.
He said the export earning from the software sector increased by eight million dollars in the last fiscal year, compared to the 2007-08 fiscal.
"The target for software export in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 fiscal years was 25 million dollars and 30 million dollars respectively," he said, adding that the current fiscal year's target has been fixed at 40 million.
The BASIS president hoped that income from IT enabled service would go up to 150 million dollar by 2011.
"There exists a 300 billion US dollar global market for IT enabled service. If we could tap only .50 percent of the service, the country's income from the sector will stand at $150 million by 2011 from the present $ 7 million," Karim said.
Quoting a survey of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre, he said if the software service is included, it is likely to surpass $ 300 million by the period.
Karim said the absence of an IT park as well as electricity and internet problems are the main barriers to expanding the industry.
He also called for simplifying the process of bank loans as well as providing training for the graduates engaged in the industry.
According to a survey conducted by BASIS recently, the average yearly growth rate of software and ITES industries in Bangladesh is over 40 percent and this growth rate is expected to continue during the years to come.
"This rapid growth is supported by good software export trends and large demand for IT automation in domestic market," the survey said.
Recently in Bangladesh, it said, large-scale automation projects have been implemented in telecom, banking, finance, pharmaceutical, and garment/textile sectors and domestic demand for software and ITES industries are, therefore, expected to increase rapidly.
According to the survey, more than 500 software and ITES companies are registered in Bangladesh. "These companies employ over 12,000 ICT professionals and the average number of employees in the industry including ICT professionals is 50."
The size of the IT market, excluding telecom, in Bangladesh is estimated at $ 300 million in total.
Out of 500 software and ITES companies, more than 100 companies are exporting their products and services to over 30 countries.
At least 30 companies have been established through joint-venture with overseas companies or as an offshore development centre (ODC) by 100 percent foreign capital.
"Most of these companies started their operations within last two to three years, indicating that the Bangladesh software and ITES industries have started to be focused by overseas buyers," it said.
"The major export market is North America, but recently many IT companies started exporting to EU countries and East Asian countries, especially Japan."
The survey mentioned that European Union has ranked Bangladesh as one of the top 20 outsourcing destinations in the world.
It said Bangladesh has high potential to become a huge source of skilled human resources with its cultural adoption capability, English language skills, analytical capability and large number of educated and energetic youths with bright aptitude, quality and natural ability in software development.
"Over twenty companies have already obtained ISO certification and a number of companies are in the process of acquiring CMMi certification and at least six companies will be reaching CMMi Level 3."