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23 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Digital Bangladesh

Salman stresses importance of public key infrastructure

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Salman stresses 
importance of 
public key 
infrastructure
Salman F Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister, addresses at a symposium titled “Digital Transformation: Role of PKI”, organised by the Bangladesh PKI Forum, at a hotel in the capital yesterday. Independent Photo

The Prime Minister’s adviser on private industries and investment, Salman F Rahman, said yesterday (Saturday) that public key infrastructure (PKI) is extremely relevant to the idea of Digital Bangladesh that the current government has promoted since it came to power in 2009.The PKI refers to the foundation that enables the use of digital signatures and encryption across large user population, delivering the elements required for a secure and trusted business environment for e-commerce and Internet of Things. “The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently said that Bangladesh is the fastest growing economy in the entire Asian region, and will remain so for the next two years. And that is why this is more relevant to the discussion about PKI, one of the key components of the growth strategy that the Prime Minister has put into place to achieve Digital Bangladesh,” he told at a symposium titled “Digital Transformation: Role of PKI”, organised by the Bangladesh PKI Forum, at Radisson Blu hotel in the capital.

“We have submarine cable connectivity for high-speed internet. Our own satellite, Bangabandhu-1, is now operational. We are in the process of sending the next one, Bangabandhu-2, in a couple of years,” he said.

Terming PKI as the one of the major components for getting the whole digitisation moving forward, the adviser identified three major areas—the customs, taxation system and the company formation—in which PKI should be implemented.

“The increased use of digital signatures will bring about tremendous improvement in terms of improving Bangladesh’s position in the World Bank’s (WB’S) ease of doing business ranking,” Rahman said.

Referring to a Thai delegate that earlier described how the government in Thailand took initiatives to spread the Internet in the rural region, the adviser said: “Similar to Thailand’s case, Bangladesh has also taken initiatives to digitalise villages. We now have the fibre optic backbone that connects all our villages at the union level. In cities, even the last mile is now digital.”

“If this link can be put into place, all the work that we have already done will hold, and only then I think the goal that we have in mind will be achieved,” he added.

Rahman referred to the news about hacking into the ATM systems of three privately owned banks to emphasise the need of having a secure digital ecosystem in the country.

Bangladesh has built the necessary digital infrastructure and enacted regulatory frameworks to enable the use of PKI, he said, and argued that the use of PKI has to be intensified to create a complete digital ecosystem in the country.

Citing the example of India and Thailand, Salman said that introducing and allowing electronic or digital signature in these areas will make the process more efficient—whether in filing tax returns or forming a company—because there would not be any confusion or uncertainty about the authenticity of the signature.

The event was also attended by Md Nojibur Rahman, principal secretary to the Prime Minister. He said Bangladesh needed to “catch up” with other countries in terms of implementing PKI.

Venkatraman Srinivasan, chairman of the Asia PKI Consortium, spoke at the event as the guest of honor.

Chaired by AKM Shamsuddoha, chairman of the Bangladesh PKI Forum, the event hosted more than a dozen of signatories from other national chapters of the PKI Forum, an international non-profit organisation that promotes adoption of PKI worldwide, and foreign experts and government officials.

Others who took part in the discussion included June Rani Das Kailay, controller of the Certifying Authority of India, which is the legal authority to issue digital signature certificates for electronic authentication of users.

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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.

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