Many local firms are now developing world class software helping the country save a significant amount of foreign currencies annually, industry insiders said.
According to them, many local manufacturers and exporters are now increasingly choosing locally developed software due to its world class quality.
Local information technology and software service providers also said they are helping Bangladesh to save over Tk 5.0 billion worth foreign currency every year alongside their successful outbound activities.
They said most of the leading banks and insurance companies, along with exporters, particularly in readymade garments, knitwear, pharmaceuticals and leather sectors, are increasingly choosing local software and IT-enabled services making the software a significant contributory factor for national export earnings, they added.
“If local companies could not deliver the required software and services, it would have to be purchased from foreign companies at higher price,” president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), AKM Fahim Mashroor said.
“We’ve a huge market in the growing local industries. The annual business, which is now around Tk 5.0 billion with a potential to grow several fold within a couple of years,” he added.
“Once upon a time local entrepreneurs would fear about using local software but now-a-days they are increasingly choosing the domestic solution instead of overseas one,” he said.
However, he admitted that there was no study on the potentials of the local market. “This is our assessment,” he added.
“We also earned over US$100 million from export of software with around fifty per cent growth in FY2012-13,” TIM Nurul Kabir, former director of BASIS said.
Bangladesh exported software worth $100.63 million in 2012-13 financial year, up by 43.53 per cent from the previous year’s $70.81 million, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.
“It is a milestone achievement for the country’s ICT sector. If the current export flow continues, software export will cross $1 billion by 2021,” he said.
In addition, freelancers exported IT products worth around $25 million, which does not come in the government’s records, he added.
There are more than 20,000 active freelancers who work at home and earn foreign currency, Ahmed said.
Having a consistent 25% growth at present, IT sector is immensely blessed to have several growth drivers like a large pool of efficient young professionals, a collaborative environment with the government, effective dynamic leadership from BASIS and positive media involvement etc, sector insiders informed.
Managing Director DOT Software, Md Zahirul Islam said that if the local talents can strategically market products via creating effective brand identity, the prospect of earning $1.0 billion will not remain as a dream anymore.
According to different IT enabled local businessman, Bangladesh has one of the most attractive population demography in the world — relatively high young population base as over 34% are in age group of 15-34 years which is favourable for IT-BPO industry.
According to them, approximately 70,000 professionals are now employed in the sector.
The local software developing companies said people in the West acknowledge Bangladesh as a readymade garment and shrimp exporting country; but the country has the capability to export software, which has not been branded yet.
The government as well as the ICT ministry has a role to play in this regard, they added.
Bangladesh earned $70.81 million in the FY2011-12, $45.31 in FY-10-11, $35.36 million in FY 09-10 and $32.91 million in FY-32.91 by exporting software.
The top software export destinations of local companies include the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan.