The earnings from the Information Technology (IT) sector registered 43 per cent growth last fiscal compared to that of the previous fiscal year hinting at a better prospect for the industry, sources said.
The country earned $ 12.68 million from the sector in the fiscal year of 2004-05. The earnings accounted for $ 2.6 million in data processing, $ 980,000 in consultation and $ 9.64 million in software export.
In the previous fiscal year of 2003-04, the earnings accounted for a total of $ 7.19 million with the income from data processing standing at $ 1.95 million, consultation $ 350,000 and software export $ 4.89 million.
"IT as a potential and thriving sector is gaining momentum in Bangladesh over the years and has become a lucrative sector registering significant progress," said ATM Nurul Kabir, vice president of Bangladesh Association of Software Information Service (BASIS), while talking to the FE.
In 2000-01, the sector contributed $ 2.24 million while the amount increased to $ 2.79 million in 2001-02 and $ 4.2 million in 2002-03.
The earnings from this particular industry, generally considered a thrust sector, has been showing an uptrend every year since 2000-01.
In the case of export, outsourcing is a vital issue. Like Bangladesh, India also exports software but India is advanced in exporting data processing which is used in call centre, he observed.
After installation of the fibre optic cable network, Bangladeshi entrepreneurs may go for exporting more data processing used in call centre, which will pave the way for earning more from this industry, he added.
Bangladesh exports graphics design, data processing and software on e-commerce, e-learning, data-ware house, data security, billing inventory management, asset management, human resource and gaming to the international market.
Due to low wages in Bangladesh, customers from many countries like to get their software made here. Some foreign companies are jointly making software with Bangladeshi companies.
The exported software is used in banks and insurance and also for telephone billing, ticketing and reservation at hotels and travel agencies, inventory of chain super market, film animation, mobile phone and toy-game in many countries.
On the other hand, data processing is used in call centre, traffic signal, housing business, credit bureau, immigration and casinos in different countries.
Apart from the telecom sector, there is a market worth Tk 11 billion (1100 crore) for IT in Bangladesh including a market size of Tk 1.7 billion for software.
From a survey conducted on 152 software companies last year, it was found that inside the country, textile, garment and pharmaceutical industries used more software than that of other sectors including the administration, telecommunication, hotel, education and defence.
About 50 IT companies are engaged in exporting software to at least 30 countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa and some countries in Southeast Asia and Middle East.