Govt to set up `Economic Zone’ in Sylhet: PM

24 11 2009

DAHAKA,Bangladesh, Nov 11 – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has taken initiatives to set up a special `Economic Zone’ in Sylhet region for further expanding the country’s economy.

She urged the Bangladeshi expatriates for investing more in
different sectors here as a congenial atmosphere for foreign
investment is prevailing in the country.

Describing the expatriates as ambassadors of Bangladesh,
Sheikh Hasina called upon them to project the positive image of
the country abroad.

She made this call while an 11-member delegation of British
Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce (BBCC) headed by its chairman
Shahagir Bakth called on her at her official residence here
today.

Prime Minister’s deputy press secretary Nazrul Islam briefed
the reporters after the meeting.

The Prime Minister urged the foreign investors to invest
more in the sectors of fish processing, food processing, tea
industry, IT and other production-oriented fields in Sylhet area.

A `Road Shaw’ scheduled to be held in London on December
next would build a positive image of Bangladesh abroad, she
informed the delegation.

Mentioning her government’s plan to modernize the Sylhet Air
Port, Sheikh Hasina said a refueling system would be introduced
there so that International flights can fly and land in this air
port directly.

British High Commissioner in Dhaka Stephen Evans, Prime
Minister’s Principal Secretary MA Karim and Ambassador Zia Uddin,
among others, were present at the meeting. (source)

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Telecom operators demand tax cut

21 11 2009

Telecom operators have demanded the government reduce tax for the sector in line with its pledge to make a digital Bangladesh by 2021.

To achieve this goal, government’s support for the information and communication technology sector is needed to reach out such technology to the mass at affordable costs, they said.

Meanwhile, the telecom operators have been asked to to run their business with transparency.

“The idea of digital Bangladesh will usher a new chapter. However lots of things need to be done to achieve the goal,” Oddvar Hesjedal, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, said at a discussion on ‘Mobile Sector as Partner for Digital Bangladesh’.

Bangladesh Computer Samity organised the discussion on the sideline of ‘BCS ICT World’ fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

Raihan Shamsi, acting chief finance officer of Grameenphone, and Zakiul Islam, president of Association of Mobile Telecom Operators Bangladesh (AMTOB), presented two separate keynote papers.

In the presentations, they said Bangladesh’s tax regime is the highest among South Asian countries, which is not even match with the government’s dream of a digital Bangladesh.

Citing an study the AMTOB president said if government waives Tk 800 tax on SIM (subscriber identity module), Bangladesh mobile subscribers will reach 95 million by 2013 from today’s 51 million.

Speaking as chief guest Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni said every operator should disclose their financial status, be it is profit or loss.

“No one should engage in illegal business,” the minister said, adding that illegal business devalues the telecom sector to the people.

Digital Bangladesh means empowering people through technology, said HT Imam, adviser to the prime minister. He said telecom operators should publish earning figures along with expenditure.

Zia Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Telecom-munication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) urged the telecom operators to give priority to the betterment of people than making profits.

He said BTRC is ready to extend all support to the operators to achieve the target of a digital Bangladesh.

Mostafa Jabbar, president of BCS, chaired the discussion. (source)