Nine more local technology companies were allotted plots at the Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City at Kaliakair in Gazipur to manufacture hi-tech products with a view to advancing technological development in Bangladesh.
The firms have proposed to collectively invest $181 million (Tk 1,523 crore) and create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs, said Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA). The authority last week handed over 24.8 acres of land to the firms under a 40-year lease agreement. The companies have been asked to submit work plans within three months and start construction within six months, she said. “In order to achieve the government target of earning $5 billion from ICT exports and generate 20 lakh jobs in the sector by 2021, we are helping the local firms to cater the domestic market and increase export volume.” “Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City will play a key role to meet the target.” In September, the BHTPA allocated 20.5 acres of land to nine local and foreign companies, which will invest about $150 million and create 25,000 jobs in combined.
The BHTPA is now working with the companies and within this month they will submit their proposals, Begum said. One of the companies that got land last week is Datasoft Manufacturing and Assembling Inc Ltd. The firm has received 2.7 acres of land and plans to set up its plant next year mainly to make Internet of Things products, both for local and foreign markets. The company has already set up a plant on a rented space in the park where it will manufacture artificial intelligence products and export them to Saudi Arabia. Mahboob Zaman, managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh, the parent company of Datasoft Manufacturing and Assembling, said the company is in talks with at least three Japanese companies, including Hitachi, to form a joint venture for the plant. “Our main target is to manufacture IoT devices. We also want to produce chips,” said the former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services.
Mediasoft Data Systems Ltd, a local software company, got 1 acre of land to set up a plant to assemble electronic cash register drawers and manufacture point of sales machines and barcode scanner, said the company's executive director Arifuzzaman. “Bangladesh spends millions of dollar every year to import these kinds of products. We now will be able to save the foreign currencies,” he said. Mediasoft's ultimate goal is to develop IoT products but before that it wants to be the market leader in these three products, he added. Among the new companies, both Aamra Holdings Ltd and SBTel Enterprise will set up mobile handset assembling plants.
Aamra received 3.5 acres of land and will establish its WE-branded mobile handset assembling factory. It has targeted to invest Tk 231 crore in the plant. SBTel got 5.16 acres of land and plans to invest Tk 120 crore. Export Competitiveness for Jobs, a project under the commerce ministry, received 4.04 acres of land to contribute to export diversification and create better Jobs in targeted sectors. It will invest Tk 941 crore and create more than 10,000 new jobs. Devnet Ltd plans to manufacture IoT products, among other items. It will invest Tk 21 crore and create 500 new jobs. Spectrum Engineering Consortium Ltd, Unicom Bangladesh, Systech Digital Ltd and UY System Ltd were also allocated land.
Companies will have to pay $2 per square metre in annual fees for the land. If they develop or manufacture products and services for export markets, they will receive additional tax benefits, according to Begum. Two years ago, BHTPA appointed two companies to develop the country's first hi-tech park and the work is progressing very slow. The park authority has made the allotments from the additional lands received from the government. BHTPA still has 7 acres of unutilised land and it plans to allot the land to them who will come with lucrative proposals that will bring foreign direct investment.