The government yesterday recognised 20 non-resident Bangladeshis as commercially important persons (CIPs) for their outstanding contribution to the economy by remitting foreign currencies.
Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, expatriates' welfare and overseas employment minister, handed the CIP cards to the awardees at a function at the ministry premises in Dhaka.
Non-resident Bangladeshis got the cards in two categories: those who sent in remittances of at least $1.5 lakh in a fiscal year, and those who imported goods worth minimum $5 lakh into their countries of residence from Bangladesh.
Nine NRBs received CIP cards for 2011 and 10 for 2012, while one got the card in the importer category for 2012.
The CIP cardholders will enjoy privileges for one year from the issuance date of a gazette notification. The cardholders, their spouses and children will enjoy privileges in getting cabins in case of treatment in public hospitals. They will also enjoy free access to the Bangladesh Secretariat for a year.
The NRB CIPs will get special treatment while meeting with high officials at home and abroad, different government committees and while travelling by rail and other transports.
The CIP cardholders will be allowed to use VIP lounge of the airport, receive consular services in Bangladesh's foreign missions and will be invited as guests in all programmes of Bangladesh missions in the country they reside.
They will get preference in seat bookings in the national flag carrier and get quick service in the immigration and special luggage handling facilities at the airports.
The NRB CIPs will also receive the similar benefits that the foreign investors get while making investment in Bangladesh.
Prior to awarding the CIP cards, the minister said the NRBs remit $14-15 billion a year through official channels.
“But the figure would be $19 billion to $20 billion if all remittances come through proper channels.”
“We are discussing special incentives or stimulus packages with the central bank for the NRBs to encourage them to remit foreign currency through the official channels,” Hossain said.
Mohammad Mahtabur Rahman, an NRB who lives in Dubai, urged the government to take necessary steps to restart giving visas to Bangladeshi people for the Middle Eastern countries.