Speakers at a virtual discussion on Thursday suggested incorporating the perspectives of fourth industrial revolution (4IR) in the upcoming national industrial policy for the benefit of the country.
They also recommended formulating a long-term policy to adopt technologies that are suitable for the 4IR.
They also stressed on modernisation of education and curriculum system, infrastructure development, collaboration of industry-academia, skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling for adopting the advantages of 4IR.
They made the observations at a webinar on "4th Industrial Revolution in the Wake of Covid-19" organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
Associate Professor of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh Said Amit presented the keynote paper.
The speakers said that there might be a risk of job losses for the low-skilled workforce due to the 4IR and suggested taking re-skilling and up-skilling schemes to sustain jobs.
Around 800 million people worldwide may lose jobs by 2030, they said, referring to the prediction of the World Economic Forum.
Posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar as the chief guest said that the telecommunication sector is an ocean for 4IR.
"In our country, 65 per cent people are under the age limit of 35 years which is an added advantage. We should not fear the 4IR as our adoptability is too high," he said, adding that in 2008, internet users were only 0.8 million who used only 8 GBPS of bandwidth whereas now we are using about 2100 GBPS bandwidth.
The minister said that the capacity of Kuwakata submarine cable will be increased. He suggested adopting technologies that are inclusive with the people of Bangladesh.
Mr Jabber said that by the year 2023, 5G will be available mainly in major cities of Bangladesh.
"The education system and curriculum need to be adjusted to cope with the advancement of 4IR," he said.
Additional Secretary of the ministry of industries (MoI) Ms Parag said that the MoI is drafting National Industrial Policy considering all aspects, including 4IR.
Chairman of Chittagong Stock Exchange and former president of DCCI Asif Ibrahim suggested enhancing the competiveness of our export-oriented industries.
He recommended generating more innovations considering the 4IR, aiming to create more jobs in the country.
"We must follow what could be really achievable in the context of Bangladesh," he said.
Moderating the webinar, DCCI president Shams Mahmud said that the Industry 4.0 is evolving fast and reshaping the global industrial, trade and economic landscape.
"Bangladesh still lags behind in adopting 4IR technologies in industrial ecosystem and this adoption will accelerate our growth momentum," he said.
He said that launching 4IR technologies will unlock new era of growth and employment across all sectors of Bangladesh despite challenges of low-skilled job loss in the short-term.
He suggested the government to form a high-level national committee comprised of relevant agencies and experts from public and private sectors, aiming to seize the opportunities of 4IR.
Mr Mahmud suggested adopting a robust national 4IR technology policy to support application of Big data, Block chain, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and IoT for adding value to our industrial and economic competitiveness and connecting digitally-enabled global value chain.
General Manager of SME Foundation Md. Sirajul Haider, ndc said the SME Foundation is working to increase the skills and capacity of SME entrepreneurs during the Covid time.
DCCI senior vice -president N K AMobin, FCA, FCS offered vote of thanks.
Associate Professor of the Department of Organisation Strategy Leadership, University of Dhaka, MD Tragedies Rahman, president and chief executive officer of Pathao Ltd. Fahima Ahmed, director of BGMEA Mohammad Abdul Momen, Prof of BUET Dr. Anowarul Fattah and former vice-president of DCCI Kh. Atique-e-Rabbani participated in the webinar, among others.