Bangladesh needs to develop specialists for the export-oriented sectors as they largely rely on foreign experts, who take home $5 billion each year, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday.
He said in cooperation with the Institute for Business Administration and the Institute for Governance and Management, the government has developed a course for administrative management essentially for the country's export sector.
In the export sector, the job is presently taken care of by expatriate experts causing an outflow of funds for their employment at a level of $5 billion each year, he said.
Muhith was addressing an annual general meeting of the board of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Tunis, Tunisia.
In 2011, the government drew up an umbrella project to inspire individual programmes of relevant divisions and subordinate organisations to develop their own projects for appropriate workforce training, according to Muhith.
He said as technology was developing worldwide, the emerging phenomenon was predicted to eliminate low-skilled jobs and augment the scope for highly skilled individuals.
“In the face of this evolving atmosphere, there is an urgent need for youth development and vocational training and higher skills formation,” Muhith said.
The finance minister sought assistance from the IDB in skills formation.
Muhith also said that Bangladesh has achieved the required threshold of all the three indicators for graduation from the least developed country (LDC) category.
He said Bangladesh would be the first country to meet all the criteria together at the next triennial review meeting of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP).
He said the UNCDP in its policy note of 2017 recognised the Bangladesh government's “unique, unorthodox and replicable” development policies as the reason for the graduation.
Muhith, however, is aware of the challenges that the graduation entails.
"Despite all these lofty and almost incredible achievements, we can in no way deny the fact that graduation into a developing economy will pose significant challenges ahead."
The challenges include inaccessibility to concessionary loans, losing the duty-free, quota-free market access, diminishing trade facilities as LDC, ensuring good governance, institutional reforms and human resources development, tackling climate change, combating natural disasters, and creating new jobs, he said.
Muhith also presented the Rohingya crisis in details at the meeting.
He said Bangladesh, having the experience of the 1971 Liberation War, has made it a policy to stand by refugees and work for stopping such operations in a peaceful manner.
He urged all the IDB member countries to raise awareness internationally and keep exerting pressure on the Myanmar authorities for the sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state.
Muhith said it was likely that opening of the gateway office of the bank in Dhaka would start its full-fledged operations in Bangladesh from this June.
“I believe that the establishment of this office will definitely be a giant step forward in further consolidating the relations and enhancing economic interaction and partnership between Bangladesh and the IDB.”