Call for allocating special economic zone to NRBs
A special economic zone should be set up for non-resident Bangladeshis in order to increase their investment in national development, said speakers at a seminar yesterday.
The Economic Relations Division organised the daylong international seminar on “NRB Engagement in National Development: Strategies and Way Forward” at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
The event aimed at finding ways to raise the contribution of the NRBs to the country's development projects and increase their investment.
In a presentation, Mobasser Monem, a professor of the Department of Public Administration at Dhaka University, said foreign missions of Bangladesh should set up dedicated diaspora engagement cells to attract investment from the NRBs.
He suggested releasing bonds for the NRBs and engaging them in different local and regional development projects.
He also called for measures so that expatriate Bangladeshis can exercise their voting rights.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said voting centres might be set up in Europe, the UK, North America, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
He said the government would take initiative in this regard to get it implemented within next year.
ERD Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said apart from sending remittances, the NRBs can also play a big role in sharing knowledge and making investment.
He said the government is looking for innovative sources for resource mobilisation to undertake development projects. The NRBs may play a significant role in this regard.
Azam said the ERD is creating a bridge between the NRBs and the relevant ministries to put in place institutional arrangement so they can play their roles.
The United Nations Development Programme Bangladesh is providing technical assistance to the ERD to this effect, the secretary said.
About 10 million Bangladeshis are living abroad. Of them, 2.4 million are living permanently either as citizens or with other valid documents in as many as 162 countries, according to Monem.
UNDP Bangladesh Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee made a presentation on “NRB Philanthropy: Issues, Strategies and Way Forward”.