We are perplexed as to why on earth the authorities are taking their sweet time in issuing machine readable passports (MRPs) for estimated 5million expatriate workers in waiting. These workers could face the axe without MRPs since host countries could very well reject them after November 24. The snail's pace involved in the induction of MRPs speaks volumes about the efficiency of relevant authorities. Having taken nearly four years to issue 6million passports, we think if 5million passports are to be issued in less than two years, they have to work on a double quick basis.
The issue of MRPs is a long drawn one. Traditional labour receiving markets in the Middle East have repeatedly asked Bangladesh to provide its workers with proper passports. But these requests have not been taken with the seriousness these deserved. With all the confusion running rampant about making MRPs foolproof and foot dragging on which body needs clearance from whom, precious time has been lost. There is hardly any need to reemphasise the importance of remittances in the national economy. The billions of dollars earned are directly injected into the rural economy and it is a lifeline for tens of millions of people in Bangladesh – money that is essential for survival and expanding the economy; a fact that seems to have eluded policymakers, unfortunately.