‘Bangladesh may get $14b as remittance, this year’
Author / Source : Staff Reporter
DHAKA, MAR 25: The government is contemplating to reform three-decade old Emigration Ordinance to insert more rights to the migrant workers. And, to facilitate international employment, the government is also setting up a migrants’ bank, according to Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, MP. The minister also emphasised policy support to migrant workers while speaking at a business luncheon meeting of Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), as the chief guest at a local hotel on Sunday.
In efforts to reduce migration costs, facilitate migration loan and encourage (remittance) investments, a migrants’ bank will be set up, pointed out the minister.
“Manpower is our asset. We have received over US$ 12 billion remittance in 2011,” Mosharraf said.
Although foreign workers from Bangladesh make up just 2.8 per cent of Bangladesh’s population, they contribute to more than 13 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Remittance was second-biggest source of foreign income after ready-made garments in 2010-2011, the minister added.
According to the World Bank, Bangladesh is one of the top 10 remittance recipient countries globally.
Cost to migrate from Bangladesh is still very high comparing to other countries and step should be taken to bring it lower, minister said, and added that initiative is needed for a minimum five years of job agreement for migrant workers with host countries.
To encourage migrant workers to remit money through banks, he suggested that Bangladesh Bank allows migrants to send home up to $ 500 at free of charge.
He said majority of migrants from Bangladesh, approximately 63 per cent of them, are less skilled and semi skilled. The Middle East is the largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers, approximately some 80 per cent. However, Southeast Asia is also emerging as an important destination. Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has already approved Tk 1,000 crore funds for setting up another 36 institutions for skill development of migrants, he added.
The government has taken some measures to attract host countries so that they employ more Bangladeshi immigrants. To explore new markets for Bangladeshi workers, high level visits have been undertaken to Romania, Iraq, Mali and Libya to mention a few. The government is also opening Bangladesh missions in some of these prospective countries.
Similar efforts are also underway with other East European and Central Asian countries. And, conventional markets in Africa and North America are also being pursued.
Furthermore, the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry has also started exploring and diversifying into new sectors, such as care giving, nursing and other medical professions, as well as actively promoting women labour migration.
The minister thanked Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for organising this important meeting.
While welcoming the guests, Syed Nurul Islam, president of BMCCI highlighted the role of immigrants in the country’s economic development.
He said over 8 million Bangladeshi people are working in different countries and among them huge numbers are living outside as regular immigrants. If everything goes well, Bangladesh will get over $14 billion in this year, he hoped. This will be an enormous achievement for Bangladesh, he observed.
The programme was also addressed by the special guests–Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, secretary of Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas and Employment, and C M Koyes Sami, managing director, Probashi Kallyan Bank.