Bangladesh needs to diversify its manufacturing base with high-tech and high-value-added production to capture the future potentials of global business, speakers said at a seminar.
Emphasising the importance of hi-tech front and considering Bangladesh's current status which is still in infancy (in this regard), they opined that the country also needs to reduce overdependence on ready-made garment (RMG) in its export basket to face the post-graduation challenges.
Exploring the semiconductor industry could be the starting of diversification of products, they added.
The observations and recommendations came from a seminar - 'Hi Tech Opportunities in Bangladesh' - held on Thursday.
The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) with experts of the semiconductor industry from Silicon Valley, California, USA jointly organised the seminar, according to a statement.
The objectives of the seminar were to know and further explore existing and potential knowledge sources on semiconductor industry, learn how to overcome challenges for developing an ecosystem, gain knowledge of the best practices of other countries, analyse how those practices can be adopted here, and how the Bangladeshi diaspora can be effectively involved in the journey.
The MCCI has been seriously working to develop an ecosystem for setting up semiconductor industry in Bangladesh, the statement said.
"The country is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with rapid business expansion and development. It is now essential to critically consider diversifying its manufacturing base with high-tech and high-value-added production for capturing the future potentials of global business."
Dr Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister (PM), was the chief guest of the programme, and N M Zeaul Alam, Senior Secretary of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, was present as the special guest.
Habibullah N Karim, Vice-President of the MCCI, moderated the event, facilitated by its Secretary General and CEO Farooq Ahmed.
Md Saiful Islam, President of the MCCI, Dr Arif Dowla, Convener of the MCCI Committee on Semiconductor, Mohammed E Rahman, CEO and President of ULKASEMI, M A Jabbar, Managing Director of DBL Group, and Dr M Rokonuzzaman, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of North South University, were Panel discussants.
In his opening remarks, the MCCI president thanked the distinguished guests, who attended the event either physically or virtually.
He emphasised the importance of hi-tech front, where Bangladesh is still in infancy. With the LDC-graduation and loss of preferential tariffs in export markets, the country would do well to move away from overdependence on RMG in its export basket.
Exploring the semiconductor industry can be the start of diversification of products that Bangladesh needs, he added, expressing hope that this seminar can be the start of sharing knowledge and guidance that is required for success.
The PM's adviser thanked the MCCI for organising the timely event, and mentioned that the present government has always been a business-friendly one and will continue to be so.
Semiconductors and other high-tech industry products are and will be of high demand in future also, he opined.
The ICT Division senior secretary assured necessary policy support in this regard.
MCCI Director Anis A Khan delivered the vote of thanks.
Panel discussants from Silicon Valley included Dr Yusuf Haque, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Co-Founder, Exo Imaging; Dr Khandker Nazrul Quader, CTO and EVP, Sunrise Memory; Mustafiz Choudhury, CTO, MIPS & Wave Computing; Dr Syed Hossainy, Director Applied Bioeng at University of California, Berkeley; Dr Khalid Azim, Vice President, ASIC Engineering and Sigma Sense; and Dr Sayeef Salahuddin, TSMC Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engr and Computer Science, University of California.