The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved a Taka 2,541.64 crore Enhancing Digital Government and Economy (EDGE) project in a bid to create necessary environment for digital economy and also ensuring its flourish in Bangladesh.
The approval came from the 7th ECNEC meeting of the current fiscal year (FY22) with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the meeting approved a total of 10 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 7,447.07 crore.
"Of the total project cost, Taka 3,682.28 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion, Taka 153.81 crore from the concerned organization's own fund while the rest of Taka 3,610.98 crore as project loans," he said.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned attended the briefing.
Of the approved 10 projects, five are new while five others are revised projects.
The planning minister said that Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under the ICT Division will implement the EDGE project by December 2026. Out of the total estimated cost of Taka 2,541.64 crore for the EDGE project, the government will provide Taka 34.59 crore while the rest of Taka 2,507.05 crore will come from the IDA of the World Bank.
Further, it will build resiliency during future crises, whereby the platform will enable the government to operate virtually and deliver critical public services to citizens and businesses.
The project will create 100,000 jobs, with a special focus on women, train 100,000 youths in digital and disruptive technologies and establish a digital leadership academy and centers of excellence. It will also help raise the revenues of IT firms by $300 million and promote local IT firms in international markets.
To reduce vulnerabilities from the pandemic and prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the project will help digitalize small and medium enterprises and strategic industries.
Answering to a question, Planning Commission member Mst Nasima Begum said that there are some 4,000 IT and software companies in the country and they exported IT materials and software worth $1 billion in the last fiscal year.
She said that this EDGE project would expedite the materialization of "Digital Bangladesh" in the country adding that around Taka 514 crore has been kept as block allocation in this project for facing the post COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Planning Division Secretary Prodeep Ranjan Chakrabarty said that the ICT Division would develop a methodology on how to utilize this block allocation.