Seminar on “Unleashing the potential of semiconductor industry in Bangladesh”

Semiconductor manufacturing industry has a great potential to be a billion dollar sector in Bangladesh. Here in Bangladesh there are a few design houses and they are doing well but in the chip fabrication, assembly, testing and packaging we still lag behind. Proper policy support and required incentives can create a $10 billion semiconductor industry by the year 2041, speakers told in a seminar on “Unleashing the potential of semiconductor industry in Bangladesh” organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on May 15, 2024. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology was present as the chief guest.

DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed suggested that for successful implementation of import substitution industrialization and export diversification, we should prioritize the development of the semiconductor industry. Many countries are investing heavily in the semiconductor industry, creating a high demand for skilled workers, he said. The government should focus on cultivating a skilled workforce required to meet the growing demands of the semiconductor industry in Bangladesh, he also added. He also underscored the importance of simplification of administrative procedures for setting up semiconductor businesses, including licensing, permits, and import/export regulations. He further said that a transparent and efficient regulatory environment will encourage investment and reduce operational hurdles. He also recommended ensuring robust protection for intellectual property (IP) to encourage innovation and attract foreign investors. Bangladesh also needs a holistic framework to develop an ecosystem for sustainable and inclusive growth of the semiconductor industry taking into account the views of stakeholders, he later opined.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Government of Bangladesh said that the uses of microchip, Nano chip and manufacturing of semiconductors are growing day by day and if we can give a right policy support to the sector, it will be possible to earn at least USD10 billion from exporting semiconductor items by 2041. He again reiterated the urgency and need of a semiconductor policy for the faster development of this sector. At the same time, he also urged for an industry-academia collaboration to create high skilled and technologically advanced work force especially compatible for this sector as the demand is very high at home and abroad. He later said that government has already established hundreds of digital labs, 5G testing is going on, more than 13 crore internet users inside the country, 19 crore mobile users, nearly 100% electrification across the country; these are some of the indicators of Bangladesh’s digital progresses and readiness. And if we can give proper policy support, incentive and guidelines coupled with skilled manpower having high-end sophisticated technology then we will be able to achieve the target of smart Bangladesh by 2041. He also said that we have to make planning to create at least 50 thousand chip designers in the country. Later he said that with the help of talented entrepreneurs and enthusiastic private sector the country will be able to become knowledge based smart Bangladesh by the year 2041.

G S M Jafarullah, ndc, Managing Director, Bangladesh High-Tech Park Authority informed that government is developing innovation hubs in ten universities in the country. In Shibchar, Madaripur, on the 70 acres of land, government is establishing Sheikh Hasina Institute of Frontier Technology. Work of 21 high-tech parks out of targeted 94 has nearly been completed. Moreover, government is facilitating private sector entrepreneurs with land and space at the knowledge parks and software parks. He invited the private sector to invest in the semiconductor industry more. Government is also considering best possible tax benefits to the ICT sector so that we can attract more local investment or FDI in this sector.

Professor A. S. M. A. Haseeb, Department of Nanomaterials and Ceramic Engineering, BUET presented the keynote paper. He said that the global semiconductor market will reach $1307.7 billion by 2032. The process of main semiconductor manufacturing process includes design, chip fabrication, assembling, testing and packaging. It is a labour intensive industry and at least 81 percent of world’s assembling, testing and packaging (ATP) production is located in Asia. Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, India are few of the Asian countries give special support to this sector in the form of grants, equity investment, favourable loans, R&D support, tax incentives etc. Despite having few design houses here in Bangladesh with a market size of about USD5 million yearly, we are yet to reach to the expected level in terms of chip fabrication, assembling, testing and packaging sectors. There is a huge opportunity to utilize the current geo-political scenario in our favour as we have a large pool of young work force with great potential. At this point we need to plan for a comprehensive roadmap for the development of this sector in future.

Mir Shahrukh Islam, Managing Director, Bondstein Technologies Ltd., Razib Hasan, Co-founder and vice president, Software Teton Private Ltd., Liakat Ali, Additional Managing Director, Walton Digi-Tech Industries and Dr. M Niaz Asadullah, Visiting Professor, University of Reading, UK also spoke on the occasion. The speakers also urged for policy support, technologically skilled manpower, policy continuation, fiscal incentive, budgetary support and allocation, industry-academia collaboration, research and innovation initiative, tax benefits over investment in R&D, priority fix-up, creating an IT eco-system and equity investment facility.

Published on: 2024-05-15

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