Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed an additional allocation of Tk500m for a crash-training programme to develop as many as 10,000 IT professionals in the next two years. The proposal comes despite the fact that the government is yet to release any amount from the Tk7bn ICT development fund promised three years back.
The minister in his budget proposal yesterday also presented a booklet titled “Journey towards a Digital Bangladesh: Update 2013”, which showed that the government has stepped back three years from its promise to bring multimedia class rooms in every schools from 2015.
Last year, the finance minister declared that the government plans to convert all classrooms into multimedia classroom in every educational institution by 2015. But his booklet read it plans “to establish multimedia classroom in every school by 2018.”
Mustafa Jabbar, president of Bangladesh Computer Samity termed it as “lack of bureaucratic efficiency”.
“The allocation of the money is important but spending it is the key. Unfortunately we found that the ICT ministry cannot play an effective role in doing so,” Mustafa Jabbar told the Dhaka Tribune over phone.
Syed Almas Kabir, vice president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (Basis) said: “We want to see projects, not only allocations. Last few years we found lots of allocations but no dispersement.”
Mustafa Jabbar also said, three years back when the ICT ministry could not submit any proposals people from the industry demanded a block allocation. The finance minister allocated Tk7bnbut so far not a single penny has been spent.
Muhith, in his budget statement mentioned that through Basis Institute Technology and Management, the government will develop 10,000 IT professionals in the next two years in order to develop a relationship between the universities and IT industries.
The minister talked about the government’s efforts to bring all its ministries, divisional-, district- and upzila-level office sunder one common network to enhance efficiency and ensure faster delivery of service.
Muhith expected that by 2020 there will be an additional 2.6% growth in GDP as a consequence of using high speed internet.
At the same time, it will generate 400,000 new business and 129,000 new employment opportunities.
He also focused on mid-term and long-term plans in different issues. By 2015, he promised to take the country’s tele density to 70%, and bring 50% unions under internet coverage, 30% of the whole country under internet connectivity and e-service in all government offices.
By 2018, government wants to expand the broadband network by 40%.By 2020 it wants to bring all the unions in the country under internet coverage and increase tele density to 90% 2021.
He informed that, in 2011-12, Bangladesh’s software industry exported software worth $70.81million and helped create a $300m-market and 50,000 employments.
Finance minister also focused on some challenges like absence of technology-friendly education and inadequate opportunity.
In the proposed budget, the government allocated Tk5.3bnto the ICT ministry for development, which was Tk2.94bnin the last and was revised at Tk1.37bn.
On the other hand, it has proposed Tk8.43bn for telecommunication ministry’s development budget, which was Tk13.17bnin FY 2012-2013 and revised at Tk8.47bn.