Wednesday 1 April 2020 ,
Latest News
COVID-19: Race for vaccine tests limits of drug innovation | 2 with cold, fever die in Keraniganj, Nawabganj | Bangladesh reports 2 more coronavirus cases; total number of confirmed cases now 51 | Coronavirus: 6 including 70-year-old recover newly as current number of recovery 25 | PM directs providing food aid to daily wage-earners | Holidays may be extended: PM | Teenage girl with fever, cough dies in Sylhet isolation unit | Coronavirus Hotline Numbers: Hunting Number: 01944333222, DGHS: 16263, 333 |
25 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 February, 2020 09:15:41 PM


‘Telecom regulator, operators should have sought alternative dispute resolutions’

TIM Nurul Kabir tells The Independent
‘Telecom regulator, operators should have sought alternative dispute resolutions’
TIM Nurul Kabir, executive director of Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and former secretary general of AMTOB

n Bangladesh’s technology arena, TIM Nurul Kabir is a known face. Having helmed the top policymaking positions of different trade bodies related to information technology (IT) and telecom, Kabir has seen it all first-hand in a career spanning nearly three decades.

He is currently the executive director of the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce

and Industry (FICCI). The Independent recently visited his office in Gulshan. Over a cup of coffee, this change-maker shared tidbits about his career:

 The Independent: You have a diversified and illustrious career spanning three decades in the country’s technology sector. Can you shed some light on this?

TIM Nurul Kabir: Actually, it is 31 years. I was a business graduate and studied finance. But I had a knack for the latest technological innovations. In our time, there was no academic discipline called computer science. I gained my technical knowledge within the industry.

I have to give credit to the Dutch multinational company AKZO-NOBEL where I was the head of IT and the deputy comptroller. Back then, we used to work with mini-computers and I was a system administrator. We worked with Macintosh computers—I gained extensive experience during my tenure with that company.

After 12 years with the Dutch company, I became an entrepreneur in the software industry. I was once elected the senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and worked a lot for the development of that organisation. I provided support to various software companies as well. Eventually, I became the senior vice-president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and was on the board for three years.

I spent the last six years of my life in the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB). During my tenure as its chief executive officer (CEO) and secretary general, AMTOB has transformed into a national organisation of Bangladesh.

At present, I am the executive director of the Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

 The Independent: You had been with BASIS during its formative years. How did you shape up the visions and missions of that organisation?

TIM Nurul Kabir: BASIS is a national asset for the country. Members of BASIS have done tremendous work in promoting IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS). Many members of BASIS are now exporting software to other countries and earning foreign currencies for our national exchequer.

I was intricately engaged in promoting various activities of BASIS at home and abroad from the very onset. BASIS, the organisation as it is today, is built upon the sweat of people like us.

I helped shape its visions and targets. I worked on making policymakers believe that we could one day earn millions of foreign currency by exporting software and ITeS. At that time, it was no easy task.

I was also involved with the government’s journey in building a Digital Bangladesh. I worked on the policies for information and communications technology (ICT) and telecom. I gave my two cents for the e-commerce policy as well. I mainly worked on different projects as a change management specialist.

When the telecentre network movement started in the country in 2004–05, I and a few others worked very hard to ensure the benefits of the technology reached the grassroots level. After the Awami League (AL) regime came to power in 2009, the idea of building a union information centre started taking shape from that very telecentre network movement. Today, the whole country has more than 5,000 union information centres and these are working through a2i. The whole country is reaping the benefits of these union centres.

When I look back and see how the masses have benefitted from these movements and their subsequent results, it gives me satisfaction.

 The Independent: You were the previous CEO of AMTOB. How are you evaluating the current imbroglio between the telecom regulator and a few telecom operators?

TIM Nurul Kabir: The technology highway of the country is built by the country’s telecom operators. They have made sure that every last mile of the nation has connectivity. In that sense, they have created the backbone of the country’s economic activities. Without their contribution, the country could not have entered into the faster lane of development.

We also need to keep in mind that the foreign investors of the telecom operators come to our country as they have seen an immense financial opportunity here. It is the duty of the regulator to ensure they have ease of doing business because foreign investors want protection for their investment.

In my opinion, there is a misunderstanding here between the operators and the regulator. Hence, we are witnessing this unwanted situation in the telecom sector now. The discrepancies that were found in the audit of the operators could have been resolved with proper bilateral discussions. There was no need to go for courts and other legal proceedings. They should have looked at alternative dispute resolutions. I would term these incidents rather unfortunate.

 The Independent: What is your current role in FICCI? How are foreign investors viewing Bangladesh?

TIM Nurul Kabir: FICCI has been functioning in the country for the last 56 years. It is the apex body of all foreign investors of the country. Its main duty is to look after the interests of these foreign investors and make sure that their investments are secure and compliant with the country’s rules and regulations.

I believe that foreign investors are serious about compliance. They are compliant because they are very meticulous about the country’s existing tax and value added tax (VAT) structure. We need to rope in more foreign investors by building a favourable investment landscape. At the same time, we need to make our taxation structure more investment-friendly.  

 The Independent: You are a very active member of Rotary Club. What makes you such an active Rotarian?

TIM Nurul Kabir: While my involvement with BASIS, AMTOB, and DCCI garners benefits for a certain section of people, I always wanted to ensure benefits for the greater masses. That is why I joined Rotary Club. I have been involved with Rotary for the last 19 years and have led different projects of the organisation.

Among my other roles in Rotary Club, I also play the role of technical advisor. We work here on six focus areas which are in tune with the millennium development goals and sustainable development goals. I am proud as a Rotarian because it gives me the scope to work for underprivileged people which my other day jobs don’t provide in such a direct manner.

Last year, Rotary International bestowed me with the “Rotary above self”—the highest recognition for an individual Rotarian.

 The Independent: How do you think Rotary is changing the world? What projects of Rotary Club you are most proud of?

TIM Nurul Kabir: Rotary is a massive organisation present in 200 countries around the world. Around 35,000 clubs are working for Rotary. Rotarians helped the United Nations in writing their charter. But what I am most proud of is Rotary’s seminal role in creating a polio-free world.

Rotary has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio from the world. The Gates Foundation has nearly 40 times the assets of the Rotary Foundation’s USD 1.25 billion. While Rotary engages in a variety of global public healthcare initiatives, it does not have the expertise of the United States Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, or UNICEF—the three organisations that round out the five key members of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Rotary led the formation of the GPEI in the mid-1980s, formally launching it in 1988. The Gates Foundation joined the effort in 2000. Over the ensuing years, the GPEI has functioned effectively, reducing polio cases by more than 90 per cent since Y2K. Within that framework, a special partnership between the Gates Foundation and Rotary has emerged.

There is an organisation called Charity Navigator which keeps track of the activities of charity organisations and evaluates their works, effectiveness, and accountability. For the last 12 years, Charity Navigator has been giving 100 out of 100 to Rotary.

 The Independent: Which of your achievements you are most proud of?

 TIM Nurul Kabir: I have been able to bring policy-level changes in whichever chambers or organisations I have worked with. My work and vision have led to some sustainable results for them. I consider this my biggest achievement: if what you do has a positive impact, it is considered as successful legacy work.   




Today's Question »
State minister for power Nasrul Hamid yesterday said everyone to have access to electricity by June. Do you think the feat achievable by the timeframe?
 No Comment
Yes 47.3%
No 48.7%
No Comment 4.1%
Most Viewed

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
About Us
Contact Us

Powered by : Frog Hosting