Some 76 students and organisations have got BASIS National ICT Awards 2018 in 35 categories for their outstanding contributions to advancement of the digital Bangladesh process.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) organised on Thursday the award ceremony for the second time at the Institute of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEB) in the city.
Posts, Telecommunications and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar was present as the chief guest while State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak as the special guest.
Of the total 76 winners, 32 have been nominated for Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2018 to be held in Guangzhou, China in October.
BASIS has selected 76 winners from each category where students from schools to universities, ICT companies of various levels in every category and government agencies have participated.
In his speech, Mustafa Jabbar said Bangladesh has reached such a level in the ICT sector that many countries and organisations, which did not consider the country as dependable, have been offering billions of dollars.
Referring to the World Bank's (WB) loan proposal for the ICT sector, he said the same bank refused to finance the Padma Bridge project, he added.
He said the final issue of invention is to ensure its utility at international level. Bangladeshi entrepreneurs should take the opportunity of patent, he added.
"We have not yet got the patent law. We have hammered for it on many occasions," said the minister.
Zunaid Ahmed said the target to earn US$ 5.0 billion by exporting ICT products and services by 2021 is ambitious, but it is achievable.
Referring to the growth of the sector with the existing policy and fiscal support of the government, he said the country has been earning US$ 800 million from ICT export compared to that of US$ 26 million in 2009.
Citing import data of various ICT related devices, he said Bangladesh imported 15 million smart phones, 35-37 million mobile phone handsets and 0.5 million laptops last year. But the prime minister's instruction is to make Bangladesh an ICT device exporting country, he added.
"We will not need mineral resources or gold mines for it. We need skilled human resources," he said.
The state minister warned the ICT professionals about the challenges of engaging more robots or using technologies in the factories.
BASIS president Almas Kabir said ICT entrepreneurs have been facing various problems including getting bank loan on easy conditions and without collateral.
Also the city corporations and Rajuk have been evicting the offices in different residential areas, he added.
Mr Almas called for issuing statutory regulatory order (SRO) to allow the ICT entrepreneurs to continue their commercial operations in residential areas until they are relocated at 28 software parks which are under construction.