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Skill-based edu in focus for 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041

FE Report | March 19, 2023 00:00:00

Speakers at a conference in the city on Saturday put forward a number of recommendations, including focusing on skill-based education, to build a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041.

Moreover, achievement of a trillion-dollar-plus economy requires all stakeholders to work together to address relevant issues and take bold steps and make necessary policy reforms, they added.

They made the observations while speaking at the conference marking the golden jubilee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB). The ICAB organised the conference on "Chartered Accountants' Role in Achieving Smart Bangladesh by 2041" at a city hotel.

ICAB President Md Moniruzzaman FCA, Vice President MBM Lutful Hadee FCA, and ICAB Chief Executive Officer Shubhashish Bose spoke on the occasion.

Md Humayun Kabir FCA, ICAB council member, former president and Chairman, Organising Committee, Celebration of 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee) of ICAB, moderated all the technical sessions.

Chief Guest of the programme, Md Abul Kalam Azad, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Presidency, said the dream trajectory of Bangladesh would be expedited if efforts on skill development become successful.

Speaking on the occasion as a special guest, Kamal Quadir, Chief Executive Officer, bKash, said investors remain keen to know about technical expertise rather than the gas and power supply situation of Bangladesh.

Therefore, continuous innovation and adaptation of technology is necessary, he observed.

Habibullah N Karim, Vice President, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and founder and CEO of Technohaven, said people would have to accept digital transactions, paperless systems, virtual service delivery, and seamless integration.

AKM Aftabul Islam, Director to the Board of Bangladesh Bank, said the government has to develop basic infrastructure for ICT to pave the way for achieving the goal of 'Smart Bangladesh'.

Samira Zuberi Himika, Senior Vice President, BASIS, said the development of new financial instruments is necessary in collaboration with private sectors, academia, government and the development partners.

Ahmed Raihan Shamsi FCA, Chairman and CEO of Devo Tech Technology Park Limited, said the journey towards 'Smart Bangladesh' has to be tech-driven so that it can connect the larger platforms of the cashless economy.

Dr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, former managing director (Grade 1) of Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority, said the hi-tech park authority has been able to attract investors.

It is expected to proceed further with a large base of IT skilled young workforce, he observed.

ICAB President Md Moniruzzaman said the CAs can play a significant role in ensuring accuracy in financial reporting and taxation.

In a video message, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said CAs help maintain transparency in the accounting system, which is necessary for building a smart Bangladesh.

Speakers at the conference recommended ensuring quality education and setting up technical schools, ensuring digital education and development of IT infrastructure, setting up bonded warehouses, creating new employment, establishing export-potential industries, digitising tax administration, increasing exports and remittances, increasing foreign direct investment, facilitating innovative economy, etc.

They also demanded floating Bonds for various large infrastructure projects so that the pressure of foreign exchange on financing such projects is not felt and thus foreign exchange is released for private sector growth.

Presently, the manufacturing and other essential goods importers are suffering much due to limited access to L/C opening. Such situations will hold back the growth potential of the country, they opined.

Various policy reforms are required to facilitate the journey towards achieving the trillion-dollar-plus GDP target, they said.

The reforms are needed in the areas of taxation, FDIs, education system, cyber security, data sharing, exports diversification, simplification of various government processes to improve ease of doing business metrics, the experts suggested.

In the technical session one and also the inaugural session, the keynote presenters on 'Smart Bangladesh: Understanding the Journey to 2041' were Mohammad Salahuddin, Deputy Secretary, Project Analyst, Aspire to Innovate Programme (a2i), ICT Division & UNDP; Dr. Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, former managing director, Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority; and Ahmed Raihan Shamsi, Chairman and CEO, Devo Tech Technology Park Limited.

Panel Discussants of the session were Mahtab Uddin Ahmed FCMA, Vice President, ICMAB; AKM Aftabul Islam FCA, Director to the Board of Bangladesh Bank; Habibullah N Karim and Samira Zuberi Himika, Senior Vice President, BASIS.

In the technical session two, Naser Ezaz Bijoy, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Bangladesh presented a keynote paper on 'Smart Bangladesh Achieving a Trillion-Dollar Plus Economy'.

He said decision-makers should have the commitments to a sustainable strategy optimising risks.

They should prioritise investments in sustainable assets, which create value for shareholders and customers and improve long-term cost efficiency, he said.

He said to make smart government and improve the ease of doing business, the business regulators should behave actively on the increased cost of compliance and erosion of shareholder value and advocate modernisation of acts like Companies Act 1994 and Import and Exports Control Act 1950.

Alihussain Akberali FCA also presented another keynote paper on 'Smart Bangladesh: A Trillion-Dollar Plus Economy by 2041.

Panel discussants were: Hikari Kawai, President, Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Md. Saiful Islam, President, MCCI; Zaved Akhtar, Managing Director & CEO Unilever Bangladesh Ltd; and Maliha Quadir, Founder, Shohoz.

In the technical session three, Md. Abdul Kader Joaddar, council member-ICAB and managing director and chief financial officer (CFO), Standard Chartered Bank, and Sabbir Ahmed, council member-ICAB and Partner Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co., Chartered Accountants presented keynote papers.

In the third session, panel discussants were: R. Mahmudul Hasan Khusru FCA, Council Member & Past President, ICAB and Director & CEO, Expo Group Bangladesh; Akhter Matin Chaudhury FCA, Partner, MABS & J Partners Chartered Accountants; Ali Ashfaq FCA, Partner, Rahman Rahman Huq, Chartered Accountants; Maria Howlader FCA, Council Member-ICAB and Proprietor, Howlader Maria & Co. (HmAC), Chartered Accountants; and Khondkar Atique-E-Rabbani FCA, Managing Director, The Computers Ltd.

ICAB Council Member Md. Yasin Miah FCA delivered closing remarks.

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