Such a dismal depiction of the industry, especially one that is contrary to the real picture, is a big factor discouraging foreign investments from flowing into the ICT sector, Palak said.
According to the 2013 survey of the national statistical agency, which was released this January, only 4.8 percent households have access to the internet in Bangladesh, even though more than 87 percent households own mobile phones.
Palak spoke at a workshop on “ICT use and internet access by individuals and households in 2013”, organized at the office of Bangladesh Computer Council.
The BBS should consult and involve the ICT division in any related surveys in the future, and avoid publishing such “inaccurate and embarrassing reports” both locally and internationally, he said.
“Otherwise we will not take any responsibility for that report.”
Industry experts had also called the survey findings outdated when the report was released.
However, BBS officials present at the workshop said there is nothing wrong with the survey or its methodology, but admitted that there was a delay in publishing the report due a dearth of workforce.
“We have a shortage of manpower and that’s why we took 25 months to publish the report, but the survey’s methodology is not questionable,” said Mohammad Abdul Wazed, director general of BBS, at the workshop.
The massive survey, involving a sample of 36,268 households with 130,714 individuals aged above five, found that only 5.6 percent households have computers.
The study said export earnings from IT and IT-enabled services sector stand at $100 million, but Palak said the figure has already crossed $300 million.
The BBS survey also reported that only 17.12 lakh of the 3.58 crore households in the country are connected to the internet, with just 11.8 percent urban households and 2.5 percent rural households having data connectivity.
However, internet penetration in Bangladesh crossed 35 percent and there are more than 5.4 crore internet users, Palak said citing numbers of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
“Reports like this discourage potential investors,” he said.
Investors rely on reports of the World Bank, which takes data from the BBS, so automatically the WB reports become misleading, he added.
Also, the BBS survey has no information on developments in Bangladesh’s hardware sector, and does not reflect on the industry’s overall growth, Palak said.