Technology is the best way to ensure good governance: ICT secretary


Md Shamsul Arefin, secretary to the Information and Communication Technology Division, on Saturday said that technology was the best way to ensure good governance.

He also said that private sector got the most benefit out of good governance as they could get easy and hassle-free government services.

Arefin said this while addressing a seminar on ‘Technology for Smart CMSMEs’ organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the day.

Md Abul Kalam Azad, former principal secretary to the prime minister, spoke as a special guest while Md Mahbubor Rahman, chairman of the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation was present as a guest of honour.

The ICT secretary said that adequate data of SME sector was essential for taking data-driven decision by the government. He termed the CMSME sector as the main player of economic growth in the country.

‘If we can strengthen the private sector technologically, they will move our economy into the next level,’ he added.

Md Abul Kalam Azad, former principal secretary to the prime minister, said that private sector was the engine of the growth and the CMSMEs played the vital role in this regard.

‘Despite having various problems, our resilient SMEs are carrying the economy of the country forward,’ he added.

Later, he said that there was no fear of embracing technology rather it’s a blessings of time and the more everyone can adopt the technology, the faster they can achieve the development.

Md Mahbubor Rahman, chairman, BSCIC said that countrywide, BSCIC had 85 offices and they had a refinancing scheme of Tk 100 crore and out of it BSCIC gave loan to the SMEs at a rate of 5 per cent interest only.

‘Since the CMSMEs cannot afford large plot in BSCIC industrial area that is why, BSCIC in its new policy allows small spaces to be allotted for CMSMEs,’ he informed.

He also agreed that skills development is a big challenge and for that BSCIC is working to train the people through their training centre in city’s Uttara.

DCCI president Sameer Sattar said, ‘If we can equip our CMSMEs with technological advancement, innovation and know-how today with necessary policy guidelines and reform, this crucial sector will implement future of our smart Bangladesh,’

He also said that it was high time to support the SMEs and make them digitally equipped to grab future opportunities.

‘We all are aware that SME is instrumental in the economy of Bangladesh, making substantial contributions to employment, GDP and export earnings. As a whole, nine million SMEs with 24.5 million workforces in diverse sectors from agriculture, manufacturing, trade and services to export-oriented sectors are recognized as the lifeline of the economy of Bangladesh,’ he added.

In order for technologically enabled smart SME development to accelerate the desired development, Barrister Sameer suggested for subsidies and easy access to finance for the SMEs, low-cost re-financing schemes for technology adoption, maximize adoption of FinTech, technology transfer, fiscal incentives like tax cut, rebate, rational tariff on innovation and technology to motive SMEs to turn into smart business, policies like Industry Policy, SME Policy, ICT Policy, Export Policy, National Budget and National ICT Policy-2018, National Digital Commerce Policy and relevant laws need to be synchronized for smart SME business friendly ambiance.

Md Saifur Rahman, managing director, GBL Fintech Ltd, in his power point presentation said that in the entrepreneurship development and global innovation index, the position of Bangladesh was 84th and 105th respectively.

He recommended formulating policies for the transformation of SMEs to smart SMEs. He also added that easy access to finance for SMEs would help them come from informal sector to formal sector.

Ilmul Haque Sajib, co-founder, Sheba Platform Limited said that technological support to the SMEs was now the demand of time. ‘We need to build a trust regarding digital payment ecosystem,’ he added.

It is heartening that digital banks are coming into operation soon; therefore micro SMEs with the help of proper collaboration will be able to reduce their cost of fund and cost of investment.

BM Mainul Hossain, professor and director of the Institute of Information Technology, University of Dhaka, reiterated to ensure necessary policy guidelines and as well as reform of policies.

He also later stressed on cross-border e-commerce facility to widen the e-commerce businesses.

Md Mezbaul Haque, executive director, Bangladesh Bank, urged to implement digital payment system across the country. ‘We have come to an era of digital lifestyle rollout’, he said.

In the open discussion session, SME entrepreneurs present in the seminar said that the rate of interest for SME loan are bit high and the documentation process was also very complicated.

Since, SMEs are taken care of by various ministries and government agencies, hence, the speakers demanded for a separate ministry dedicated only for SMEs.

They all echoed with the concept of implementing complete automation of customs procedures.

DCCI senior vice-president SM Golam Faruk Alamgir (Arman) and vice-president Md Junaed Ibna Ali were also present on the occasion. Coordinating director, convenor and joint convenor of DCCI ICT Standing Committee respectively Mamnun Quader, Rashad Kabir and Mir Shahrukh Islam also spoke on the occasion.


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