Feb 22
Telecom & Computer Technology
GP breached rules over internet services to Sonali Bank: regulator PDF Print E-mail

Mobile operator Grameenphone has provided internet services to Sonali Bank violating rules, the telecom regulator said yesterday.

Grameenphone established a fibre optic connectivity to facilitate online transactions of the bank, which is against the licensing rules of a mobile operator.

Mobile operators are allowed to provide internet services only through mobile devices and modems.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will now ask the operator to discontinue the service and explain why a fine will not be slapped on it.

The network solutions were provided to the state-run bank through Go Broadband, which is a high-speed internet service brought by Agni Systems and ADN Telecom in partnership with Grameenphone.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 12:06
IT industry still smaller considering population PDF Print E-mail

By Iftekhar Omer

IT Industry is one of those sectors in which Bangladesh has shown her remarkable progress. The sector has made significant advancement in last two decades. Software industry even need less capital and raw material than a pharmaceutical industry. In some cases, Bangladesh has become more preferable than India in this respect. A good number of foreign IT companies are working with our local companies under joint venture project.

In spite of significant advancement Bangladesh is lagging behind in competition with other south Asian countries. Indian IT industry is making their position in international market stronger to strongest day by day. It is estimated that the country has the potential to build $ 100 billion software product industry by 2025, contributing significantly to the nation's current account.

Currently there are over 1000 registered software and ITES companies in the country employing over 70,000 ICT professionals. Of which 60 % companies operate for domestic market while others are export oriented. A good number of companies work for both the markets (local and international). According to Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), the growth rate of this industry has been over 40% in last 5 years. However, a major discouraging side of our software industry is that the size of the industry is still relatively smaller if consider our population.

Current scenario of IT Industry

The approx. Revenue of Local Industry is US $ 400 million. Annual industry turnover is US $ 800 Million. Approx. Revenue from ITES (IT enabled Industry) is Tk.1050 crore. The revenue earned from software exportation was (2012 - 2013) US $101.63 million. The growth in this industry increased from US $35.86 million (2009-10) to US $101.63 million of current time. We are also exporting software more than 60 countries. Software and IT service companies are exporting products to countries like USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Japan, Australia, South Africa and some of the Asian countries. Top export destinations are USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, UAE etc. Bangladesh has been included in a list made by European Commission as one of the top 20 outsourcing destination.

Nature of business

Software companies usually sell their products to corporate houses and organizations. It includes banks, telecom operators, and government projects. A total of 63% of BASIS member companies sell their product only in local market. Financial organizations like banks and insurance companies are largely dependent on Bangladeshi softwares. A good numbers of these organizations are regular clients of the local companies. Recently, BASIS has conducted a survey on its member companies regarding their marketing and nature of products. The survey showed that most of the software makers are engaged in providing maintenance service to their clients. The software developed in Bangladesh falls into three categories – (1) customized software, multimedia software and web software. Other Services include data processing system, database management, content service, Media Content Management System, Micro Finance (MFI) Solution, Insurance Management System, E-Learning, Office Management Solution, Capital Market Solution, Security, Biometric & Alert Systems, and POS & Inventory Management System, Hospital Management System, Content Management, Education Institute management Application, Customized Software Development, Mobile Application ,Web Development Service & Hosting ,e-commerce & Portals etc. Besides these, outsourcing has now become an important source of revenue earning. Freelancers who have good competence over programming language are earning a good number of foreign currencies through outsourcing.

Crisis of skilled IT professionals

According to BASIS, more than 70000 people are working in this sector either full time or part-time basis. In Bangladesh, over 100 universities including both private and public are offering degree on computer science. They are producing minimum 30000 graduates every year. Besides these, there also other specified colleges which provide professional it education. Some of the IT graduates also obtained certificates from reputed global vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, Cisco etc. Some of them are also working in reputed international companies like Intel, IBM, and Texas Instruments etc. With the expansion of industry and advancement of technology demand for skilled manpower increased in both local and international markets. Apart from IT industry, many financial organizations, govt. and non-govt. projects require a large number of IT professionals. Therefore, the IT skilled personnel are getting diverted in different sectors too. In spite of recent development, it is considered that Bangladesh is still struggling to produce enough skilled IT professionals.

According to Mr. Nur e Alam Siddiqui, Assistant program manager (IMD and Events) of BASIS, Bangladesh needs more skilled manpower. In order to become a skilled IT professional one needs to have expertise on programming language and coding. Currently, India is 10 years ahead than Bangladesh in terms of programming excellence, he added.

According to other IT professionals, our university curriculum is not appropriate to produce skilled manpower for IT sector.Because they are based on bookish knowledge. A large number of CSE graduates are not interested to work in IT Industry. While talking with some students it was found that they were more interested in working at private firms, bank, multinational companies than IT firms. Nazmur Rahman, A CSE graduate from independent university said he is working in a private bank as a cash officer and thinks that working in banking industry will make his future more secured. Other CSE students do not consider IT sector as permanent earning sources. Furthermore, they will need to do a lot of other professional courses to become a skilled IT professional. They can work in freelance basis or provide IT services in financial organizations but reluctant to work in IT Industry as permanent basis.

Dr. Md Nawab Yusuf Ali, Chairperson of Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, East West University agreed that CSE graduate lacks professional skills. According to him the purpose of curriculum is to provide basic knowledge which needs to be upgraded by including more training facilities. He also emphasized the need for recruitment of IT professionals in educational profession for providing more realistic teaching facilities.

Infrastructural problem is also hampering to produce skilled IT Professionals. At present, 1500 colleges in Bangladesh to provide specified IT training. IT experts viewed that IT training institutions should be decentralization. It should be expanded to the rural areas too for talent hunt.

The slow pace as well as unavailability of internet is another major problem. We are in 21st century but still we are lagging behind in terms of progress just because of this sad condition. The number of internet user is mostly centralized in urban areas. Even in urban areas, in some cases, internet facilities are not available. If available then they are not affordable. If a University student wishes to earn through outsourcing, it is impossible for him to afford a fast internet connection. It will cost him minimum 2000 taka monthly.This kills the inspiration at the very beginning. Our neighboring countries are well ahead in providing better internet facilities and they are also taking advantage of it in global competition.

Population can bring revolution

Currently, in the country 6.3 % o of total population use internet. India and Pakistan have 12.6% and 10% accordingly.According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data, the number of subscribers in the country reached 113.784 million.

Mr. Nur e Alam Siddiqui, Assistant program and event manager of BASIS emphasized that this population should be utilized in a more planned way. Bangladesh has huge potentials to create skilled professional for next generation, he added.

Experts said that the next generation will be the generation of smart phones. Use of smart phones has been increased excessively. Uses of personal computers have been declined at the same time. Therefore, it can be said that the use of mobile devices has overlapped the user of PC use. IT industrials are also emphasizing on developing more mobile application.

Since Bangladesh is populated country with a large number of mobile users, IT revolution can be brought here through mobile applications. BASIS officials also said that they have given more priority on producing mobile application. Development of PC application will mainly focus on the corporate houses and industries. The market of IT Industry can only be expanded through the production of mobile application at an affordable cost as we have a good number of mobile phone users.

BASIS has set four pillars to bring this revolution. They are firstly, to create one crore internet users. Secondly, to create 10 million it professionals, thirdly, to contribute 1.5% in our GDP and finally to increase export earning up to $ 1 billion. They want proper support of the government. They urged the government to build a better infrastructure for IT. Already, the government has provided long term equity fund and short term working capital financing to IT companies. Since 1996, government is allowing zero tariffs for computers and other goods required for software industry.

Experts viewed that outsourcing should also be emphasized at the same time to boost our export earning. A large numbers of freelancers in programming language are now earning huge foreign currency though the outsourcing. However, they demanded to overcome the difficulties to bring revenue. RecentlyPay-Pal, an international monay trenfer company, officials visited Bangladesh to evaluate the possibilities of expansion of their business in Bangladesh. They are expecting to launch its services in the country soon.

The present demand of the situation is to introduce skills assessment programs and enhancement programs for increasing skilled IT professionals. Special Hi Tech parks and Software parks should beset up at different cities to promote the IT industry. IT organization should also create employment opportunities for software development projects so that the knowledge of IT graduates can be utilized in a more productive way.