A study by Oxford Internet Institute (OII), Department of Multidisciplinary Research and Teaching at Oxford University, has revealed that Bangladesh has become the second largest country in the world in online freelancing. At present about five lakh freelancers are working regularly in Bangladesh. According to the Bangladesh government, Bangladesh is earning 100 million annually through freelancing. India tops the list with 24 percent of global freelancers, followed by Bangladesh with 16 percent of the world’s freelancers and the United States with 12 percent in third position. The type of freelancers varies from country to country. Bangladesh’s freelancers are at the forefront of sales and marketing services.
The Status of Freelancing in Bangladesh
According to the trade magazine Forbes, Bangladesh is among the top 10 countries in terms of income from freelancing. Bangladesh ranks eighth in freelancing income and Bangladesh’s growth is 26 percent. Outsourcing has a market of one trillion US dollars a year in the world. Although the income of this sector in Bangladesh is 1 billion, there is a possibility of 5 billion dollars. In the last few years, Bangladesh has made a lot of progress in freelancing, as a result of which the income of Bangladesh has reached 1 billion dollars, but Bangladesh has a huge opportunity in the freelancing sector. And if we want to do well in this sector, we have to increase the infrastructure and internet facilities. Freelancing is a promising sector for Bangladesh. Because where the country’s job market is in a very fragile state, where 47% of educated population is unemployed, not enough jobs are created, freelancing is a respectable alternative profession. According to a research report by World Vision Bangladesh, one in 10 of Bangladesh’s 44 million young people is unemployed. Every year, thousands of university students are unemployed without getting a job. As a result, the number of educated unemployed is increasing day by day. But there is an opportunity to enrich the country’s economy by involving this unemployed population in freelancing.
Government Initiatives in the Freelancing Sector
Government initiatives are needed to make freelancing more successful as a sector. Ten years after the announcement of Digital Bangladesh’s’ Roadmap ‘in 2008, the government undertook three development programs -‘ My Village – My City, Good Governance ‘and the Power of Youth’. The implementation of the digital revolution has become more ‘dynamic’. According to this roadmap, the government has already taken various initiatives. This includes government training opportunities. Initiatives have been taken to train 40,000 trainees across the country through the Learning and earning Project under the Ministry of ICT. In addition, the government has recently adopted a plan to recognize five lakh freelancers. Meanwhile, the ICT Department and the Bangladesh Freelancer Development Society have created a database of freelancers. Besides, the government has taken initiative to set up ICT parks in every district to ensure information technology services. Initiatives have been taken to create a marketplace to give freelancers in the country the opportunity to do government work. The Department of Youth Development and the Department of Women’s Affairs are also arranging various trainings and allowances for this purpose. The government is also helping the private training institutes in various ways. Despite various government initiatives, Bangladesh still has some obstacles and working hard to overcome them, such as even faster internet connections. Although internet is more accessible and faster in Dhaka than before, the quality of internet service outside Dhaka needs to be further enhanced.
Right now freelancers are using Payoneer, Skill, Payza, Neteller, Zoom as online payment methods in Bangladesh. But in the developed world, PayPal is the most used for online money transactions. But PayPal service has not been launched in Bangladesh yet, so freelancers have to face various problems with the payment method to receive the money earned and pay in different cases, additional money is spent. However, in 2016, the Bangladesh government and PayPal have discussed this and work is underway. PayPal authorities have conducted various tests including market verification. The company has decided to launch PayPal service in Bangladesh with Bangladesh in mind. Discussions have been held with nine banks on government initiative. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is also in talks with PayPal. Freelancers in Bangladesh will benefit from the launch of PayPal service. In addition, the rate of remittances will increase. Digital transactions will increase. Therefore, the government should take necessary steps to launch PayPal service in the country quickly.
Bangladesh has immense potential in freelancing. The government is already working on this sector. With proper investment and necessary initiatives by the government, it is possible to achieve a huge amount of foreign acquisition from the sector and eliminate the problem of unemployment.