Bangladesh taps Chinese firm to boost digital communication

The Cabinet Committee on Government Procurement on Wednesday gave final approval to the project to establish digital connectivity with a budget of 39.74 billion taka, 80% of which is financed by Chinese loans.

Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Division, Md Zillur Rahman Chowdhury confirmed that Bangladesh is entering into a G2G deal with China to directly purchase the necessary equipment, physical labor and services from the state-backed company.

“…The project aims to increase production and build capacity by bringing everything online, the whole country on the same network,” he said.

“It will train people across the country to enable them to join digital operations. High schools and colleges will also be connected.

The massive project will connect the districts and Upazilas via 545 lane connections, set up robotics, 3D and VLSI labs, servers, network operation centers, 10 digital villages via integrated smart sensor devices and a 21-story building, among other facilities.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal hailed this as an opportunity to create employment opportunities.

Drawing on a CPD study, he said: “Even during the pandemic, up to 100,000 people in the country were employed in the e-commerce sector. There will be recruitment windows for another 500,000 people in the sector this year. This project will energize these opportunities.

He underlined that employment was a key factor for the consideration of projects in the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement; the other being income to repay loans for a project.

The committee also gave the green light to a proposal by the Directorate General of Food involving the purchase of 50,000 tons of wheat from the Indian company Bagadiya Brothers Pvt Ltd at a price of 1.72 billion taka.

A proposal by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation or BPC to import 100,000 tons of high sulfur fuel oil from Indonesian Bumi Siak Pusako Zapin for Tk 5.88 billion was also approved at the meeting.

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