There are vast potentials in expanding exports of computer hardware and software from Bangladesh, experts said.
They said the information technology (IT) industry is going to capture a major portion in international markets in a few years, becoming a major foreign exchange earner of the country.
According to estimate of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Bangladesh earned around $1-$1.5 billion (Tk 9,000-Tk 13,000 crore) by exporting computer hardware and software last two years.
The association said that it has been possible to earn huge amount of foreign exchange by exporting mobile sets and laptops to several countries, including in the United Kingdom, United States, Greece, Germany and Turkey.
Market has already been created for Bangladeshi computer software and hardware in 160 countries of the world, it said.
Experts said young programmers are earning foreign exchange in outsourcing job by developing customised software and apps for corporate houses abroad.
The government aims to earn about US$5 billion in foreign exchange from the sector by 2021.
A senior official of BASIS said the country's internal software market is also growing.
“The country's IT market stands at Tk 10,000 crore,” he said adding that, “About 50 percent of this is again occupied by local software developers.”
In this context, ICT and Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said, “Readymade garments have gradually grown as a major sector of foreign exchange earnings. Similarly, the information technology sector is moving forward. One day this sector will be a big source of foreign exchange earnings.”
He said Bangladesh is expected to earn $5 billion from this sector in 2021.
“By 2041, the sector will generate more revenue than the garment industry,” he mentioned.
Jabbar also said the young generation of the country has started seeing the light of hope in this sector and that they are now earning foreign exchange through outsourcing.
“People involved in the industry are exporting hardware and software,” he said adding, “Bangladesh-made mobile and laptops are being exported abroad. Technologists who work with information technology have also become optimistic about this sector.”
“We have been able to replace use of the foreign software with local software,” he said adding that, “Our software is exported to 160 countries.”
Habibullah N Karim, BASIS former President and IT expert, said the IT sector generated billions of dollars in revenue in the last few years.
“The IT industry in Bangladesh is undoubtedly a potential sector,” he said adding that, “This sector has created a lot of hope. This is a big field, especially for the younger generation.”
Karim suggested taking measures to make available high-speed internet at low cost for the development of IT sector. “If we want to expand this sector on a bigger scale, we have to increase the internet speed.”