ICT Associations of Bangladesh have expressed their reaction on the announced budget for FY 2019-20. Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS) along with other IT Associations including Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Bangladesh Association of Call Center and Outsourcing (BACCO) organized the press conference at the Surma Hall of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka.
Syed Alams Kabir, President of BASIS, Shahid-UL-Munir, President of BCS, M A Hakim, President of ISPAB, Towhid Hossain, Secretary General of BACCO were present at that moment.
BASIS President highlighted that, in this years’ budget for ICT sector’s Development financial allotment has increased to 2176 core taka. While ICT Division’s Budget allocation has creased Taka 193 core in this year’s budget compared to last year’s revised budget. Besides, Govt. has allocated Taka 100 core fund for start-ups. Also Govt has decreased VAT on Social Media Business from 15% to 7.5%. We thank our Hon’ble Finance Minister & Government in this regard.
Digital Commerce sector is growing in our country. But VAT has been increased from 0% to 7.5% in this sector. It will create hindrance on the growth of e-commerce sector. We would request to wipe out VAT in this sector for at least upcoming 5 years.
BASIS President added, for software sector’s development we urged to sanction Taka 200 core allotment in ICT sector which is not included yet. Also, for Outsourcing sector’s development Taka 300 core can be allocated which will be disbursed through Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). For TA (Technical Assistance Project) we need to have Taka 200 core’s allotment. We would urge the government to take these issues into account while reviewing the budget.
In Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) government has imposed 5% VAT. This will create hindrance on the development of this sector. Also, we would urge the government to include System Integration, Platform as a service/Cloud service, Software as a service, Annual Software Maintenance Contacts (AMC), Information System/ Information technology/ CIS/ ID Assessment/ Audit Services, ICT related capacity building/ Skill development, IT Training, Cyber security Assessment, Internet Broadband Service (ISP), Computer Hardware in the definition of ITES.
BCS President Shahid-UL-Munir said, In 2019-20 Budget on the import of Computer & Computer related hardware’s 5% Advance Income Tax (AiT) has been imposed. We would urge the government to wipe out this AiT from Import.
Besides, on the sale or distribution of imported computer and computer related hardware’s VAT has been increased up to 7.5% from 5%. We would urge the government to take this VAT level down to 5% for the growth of this sector.
ISPAB President M A Hakim said, Govt is prioritizing the growth of ICT sector. For every 1000 broadband connections approx. 10 persons employment gets created. Also according to World Bank for 10% broadband internet penetration, GDP of the country increases by 1.38%.
But in this budget 5% Regulatory Duty (RD) has been imposed on Fiber Optic Cable. This will create hindrance on internet penetration and internet connectivity across the country. We will urge the government to wipe out the RD from Fiber Optic Cable.
BACCO’s Secretary General Towhid Hossain said, in the definition of ITES there is Business Process Outsourcing. But BPO is a huge sector. In the definition of ITES, BPO’s definition needs to be clarified and elaborated. Also, 5% VAT has still been imposed on ITES. In should be wiped out for the development of Bangladesh’s ITES sector.