Syed Tashfin Chowdhury
In an outstanding move, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (Basis) arranged one of the best seminar line-ups of the year on the sidelines of the SoftExpo 2005.
The Basis held seven seminars during the five-day software fair at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre (BCFCC) started on November 27.
The seminars discussed important IT related issues amidst an impressive turnout with noted Information Technology (IT) personalities, students, teachers and others.
On the second day, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, said the much-awaited cyber law is likely to be implemented by January next year.
The minister was addressing a seminar styled "Cyber Law & Impact on Your Business".
"The law has finally been drafted and we expect it be passed in parliament by January," said Ahmed.
The law was actually drafted two years ago, after which it was sent to the Law Commission.
"But the process was delayed because of translation-related complexities," he said.
"We want the cyber law in place soon to facilitate and motivate business-persons with e-commerce and e-transactions. But it has to be ensured that the law is compatible with all other existing laws in the country."
The minister admitted that the absence of the law has been a barrier to the growth of e-commerce.
Moazzem Hossain, editor, the Financial Express, presided over the seminar, while Barrister Zahid Jamil from Pakistan presented the keynote paper. Barrister Tanjib-ul Alam was the panel speaker.
Barrister Zahid in his speech urged the government to facilitate rather than to regulate the IT sector through the would-be cyber law.
Barrister Tanzib said investment in the ICT sector has been affected particularly due to the absence of cyber law.
Another seminar on "Human Resources Readiness for ICT Industry" was held with Dr Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, vice-chancellor of BRAC University as the chief guest.
Dr M Rokonuzzaman, associate professor of school of computer science and engineering, Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB), presented the keynote paper at the event.
Dr Chowdhury focused on the quantitative and qualitative sides of human resources as well as ICT graduates.
"A large number of youth are currently discouraged to study in ICT related fields due to the scarcity of IT related jobs in the country," he said.
The organisers held two seminars on the third day.
Sougata Ray, associate professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, presented the keynote speech at the first seminar titled "Developing Successful Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) Clusters in Bangladesh".
"Bangladesh has a greater opportunity for outsourcing than India. If the country properly utilizes its strength, it can even reduce its unemployment rate," he said.
The second seminar was titled "Offshore Development -- Opportunities in Europe".
Dr Richard Sykes, chairman, Outsourcing Group, Intellect, UK, said, "To be on the top list of offshoring countries, Bangladesh needs to have a strong foundation through quality IT professionals with appropriate education, experience and reputation."
Chris Thornton, principal consultant, Orbys Consulting Ltd, UK, also spoke.
Commerce Secretary Faruq Ahmed Siddiqui attended the seminar as the chief guest and Mir Shahabuddin Mohammad, vice-chairman of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) as the special guest.
The Basis on the fourth day organised a seminar titled "Open Source -- Software Development Alternative".
Speakers urged the government to initiate the use of open source technology at all of its offices while implementing various e-Governance projects.
A Towhid, former Basis president, chaired the seminar, while M Rezwan Al Bakhtiar, senior vice-president, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited was present as the chief guest.
Morten Kjaersgaard, director, Magenta, Denmark, attended the seminar as the special guest.
"Open source is suitable for the developing and the developed countries alike. Government should support this technology," said Kjaersgaard.
Another seminar titled "e-Governance implementation - Best practices" was held during the second session.
On the last day on December 1, the Basis held a seminar titled "Submarine Cable Connectivity -- National Readiness".
Rohan Samarajiva, executive director, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, presented the keynote speech.
Aminul Haque, minister for post and telecommunications, was present as the chief guest.