Labour Market: Govt now looking for alternatives
Mentioning that the employment situation in different countries, especially in the oil-dependent Middle Eastern states, might not remain the same as before due to the pandemic, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government was working to explore alternative labour markets and send workers there.
"New labour markets are being explored through the [Bangladesh] embassies in this regard. In the present situation, it is not possible to send labourers temporarily to South East Asian countries, including South Korea and Singapore. However, sending workers to Middle Eastern countries has started at the desired level," she told parliament while replying to a query from Jatiya Party MP Shameem Haider Patwari.
About alternative labour markets, the PM said 50 Bangladeshi workers obtained Romanian work visas in October last year and another 260 work visas was under process by the Romanian government.
Hasina said 240 skilled workers were sent to Uzbekistan for the first time on November 7 last year. They are working at a project under an engineering company in Qarshi, Uzbekistan.
"Besides, another 648 Bangladeshi workers will be sent to Uzbekistan. Efforts are underway to export manpower to that country in other sectors."
The leader of the House said there are bright prospects for Bangladesh's labour market in Africa, specially in Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Libya.
She said the government has taken various measurers to send back the Bangladeshi expatriates who lost their jobs abroad during the pandemic and could not return to their workplace after getting stuck at home. The government is making it happen through creating new employment opportunities for the expatriates.
In this connection, Hasina said the government was communicating with foreign ministers of different manpower recruiting countries.
"Importance is being given on three issues -- ensuring minimum food and health facilities for the sacked expatriates, sending them home after paying six month's salaries and allowances and other benefits, and requesting the destination countries to set up Covid-19 recovery and respond fund to create employment and small industries in those countries," she added.
FINANCIAL SETBACK AVOIDED
Responding to another query, Hasina said special measures taken by her government in view of the pandemic to protect people's lives and tackle the economic crisis arising from it have helped Bangladesh avoid the global financial setback.
"The government's special measures for tackling the crisis have kept the country's economy normal," she added.
The PM said Bangladesh would be the 25th largest economy in the world by 2035 if its present economic evolution continues, according to the Economic League Table of the British economic research organisation, "Centre for Economics and Business Research".
Hasina said Bangladesh last year registered a 5.24 percent GDP growth rate. The previous year, the figure was 8.15 percent, which was the highest in the country's history.
She said the government since the beginning of the outbreak handled the situation cautiously and that is why Bangladesh has witnessed more success than many others countries in terms of number of infected people, death rate and economic losses.
Talking about coronavirus vaccine, the PM said the vaccine procurement process was underway and the vaccination would start soon in the country.
Responding to a query from Awami League MP Ali Azam, the premier said Bangladesh has attained self-sufficiency in fish production by boosting up the production by over 50 percent in the last 11 years due to effective and timely measures taken by her successive governments.
"Bangladesh produced 43.84 lakh tonnes of fish in 2019-20 fiscal year which was 62.31 percent higher than that of fiscal year 2008-09 [27.01 lakh tonnes]."
Hasina said Bangladesh has improved its ranking to the second place in the world in terms of producing fresh water fish as per the report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
Each person in the country now eats 62.25gm of fish daily against the demand of 60gm, she added.