In a first, the government is set to select bidders through limited tendering for implementing the digital connectivity projects bankrolled by China.
Before this, all China-financed projects were implemented by the party nominated by Beijing.
But going forward, the limited tendering will be followed for all China-funded projects, and the Economic Relations Division has issued a guideline about the implementation of the projects.
At present, the limited tendering is followed for India-funded projects, which means only Indian companies can participate in the bidding.
During Chinese president's visit to Dhaka in 2016, an umbrella deal was signed to finance a total of 26 projects.
Beijing has already nominated companies for some of the projects, but for the rest the limited tendering will be applied, said a finance ministry official.
In 2016, the cabinet committee on economic affairs decided that the digital connectivity project will be implemented by the company selected through the direct method.
But last month, in a meeting of the Information and Communication Technology Division, it was decided that a tender will be floated for the project on the ground that the move will make the cost of the project more reasonable and the quality of work better.
The total project cost would be Tk 8,500 crore and China Exim Bank will provide 94 percent of the amount, which would come to about $1 billion.
The government will bring two lakh small institutions under digital connectivity to boost trade and economic activity in remote areas. Besides, high-speed internet facility at low-cost will be provided to remote areas of the country.
The connectivity will be provided to educational institutions, health centres, post offices and agriculture offices, according to a proposal of the ICT ministry.
Bangladesh will set up 10,000 “points of presence” at business growth centres across the country to expand digital financial services and ecommerce.
Computer labs will be set up at secondary and higher secondary educational institutions. Besides, various large-scale labs will be set up, including a regulatory lab at the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, a multi-media lab for media workers and cyber security labs in universities.
Computer training labs will be set up at the offices of the deputy commissioner and upazila nirbahi officer so that staff can be trained to use digital services.
A digital money pay point and a payment gateway platform will be set up as part of the government's effort to digitise the economy. “It will enable people to make financial transactions easily,” said an ICT ministry official.
Standardisation and setting up of biometric devices for registration of students at educational institutions, Wi-Fi zones for the youth, digital libraries, and digitisation of the Jatiya Sangsad, health services and collection of health-related information of all citizens have also been included in the project.