Siyam Hoque

2020-05-14 16:04:42 BdST

ICT sector calls for Tk 5,000 crore stimulus package


Several digital service related trade bodies today called for a special stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for the information communication technology (ICT) sector.

In a pre-budget virtual press conference, Syed Almas Kabir, president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), placed this demand in favour of five trade bodies.

Though the government has already declared about Tk 100,000 crore stimulus package to tackle the Covid-19 falloutimpacting the country's economy, ICT companies might not be able to comply with the banks' demands, said Kabir.

"ICT companies are not able to provide any collateral to the banks which is their prerequisite to approve loans and though the government has done its part, it will not benefit us," he said.

"Our asset is creativity and most of our companies have no land asset and no previous record for loans… clients are our strength," he added.

The associations also demanded only 2 percent interest rateand requested repayment after one year.

The ICT industry is working on the frontline to fight against Covid-19 and trying to facilitate citizens' day to day activities through their services, Kabir added.

Echoing with Kabir, Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (BACCO) President Wahidur Rahman Sharif said already job cuts and layoffs have started in the industry, so immediate steps are needed to ensure a digital Bangladesh.

Leaders of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Bangladesh Computer Samity and e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) also spoke at the press conference and raised their demands for stimulus package.

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