Bangladesh's IT industry has defied the global economic turmoil, with IT exports rising by 36 per cent in the first half of the current financial year, revealed data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
IT firms earned USD 282.77 million between July and December 2022, up from USD 208.09 million in the same period in 2021. This growth was driven by the shipment of computer data-processing and hosting services, which increased to USD 233.55 million from USD 154.82 million year-on-year.
Local entrepreneurs received outsourcing orders for various tasks, including back-office operations, image processing, graphic design, animation, data entry, accounting, legal process outsourcing and data analytics.
The growth in IT exports accelerated since the middle of last year following the improvement in the Covid-19 situation. The growth has remained strong despite earlier concerns about whether this momentum would continue in the current financial year due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Brain Station 23, which primarily exports custom-made software to European clients, experienced year-on-year growth of 44 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal year.
However, the software shipment dropped by approximately 8 per cent to USD 27.39 million.
Despite this, some software firms said their business had expanded during this period.
While the export receipts for the installation, maintenance and repair of computers and peripheral equipment fell by about 58 per cent to USD 2.07 million, some experts have suggested that the actual export earnings from the IT sector were significantly higher than the official figures as smaller earnings are not being included in official calculations.
Despite the impressive growth in Bangladesh's IT sector, IT export earnings remain far lower than those of its peers.
In FY22, India's technology industry generated export earnings of USD 227 billion, while Pakistan's information and communication technology exports were worth USD 2.62 billion.
AKM Fahim Mashroor, CEO of Bdjobs and AjkerDeal, told the Daily Star that while the higher earnings in the first half of the current financial year were a good sign, the overall IT export was still very low.
Mashroor recommended that the government incentivise IT companies to hire fresh graduates and foster the growth of larger companies, which could generate more revenue.