Experts believe 8 million labor export target unattainable

File photo of migrant workers at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka Syed Zakir Hossain / Dhaka Tribune

“Although the government aims to send 8 million Bangladeshi workers abroad, the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to this target”

Relevant stakeholders in the labor export sector doubt the government’s goal of exporting 8 million workers overseas by June 2025, as part of the eighth five-year plan (8FYP ), can be reached.

Sources at the Planning Commission said that although the government aims to send 8 million Bangladeshi workers abroad, the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to that goal.

Bangladesh exported the most workers in 2017, when labor exports reached 1.01 million.

The country exported 757,731 workers in 2016, 734,181 workers in 2018 and 700,159 workers in 2019.

It also exported 485,893 workers to overseas markets during the January-November period of this year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor export, Employment and Training (BMET).

So far, Bangladesh has exported a total of 1.35 crore of workers from 1976 to date.

Noman Chowdhury, chairman of the Dahmashi group, told Dhaka Tribune that migration costs should be reduced to help boost the export of labor to overseas markets.

He also said the government should consider giving an interest-free Tk2 lakh loan to workers who want to go abroad.

In today’s environment, a worker sells his paternal property or borrows money at high interest rates, usually 20-40% interest, which places a burden on family members. .

The Planning Commission also set a disbursement target of $ 30 billion per year, which is also unachievable as the country received the largest amount of $ 21.75 billion in 2020, according to BMET.

The country earned between $ 18.35 billion and $ 20.45 billion during the January-November period of this year.

Towfiq Khan, a senior researcher at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told Dhaka Tribune that the government should focus on creating more jobs in local markets as the process of nationalizing jobs in countries Gulf has slowed the growth of new jobs in foreign markets. .

The world has gone through a pandemic in the past two years that has hit the global and Gulf economies. The goal of exporting 8 million workers between July 2020 and June 2025 under the 8FYP is most likely unachievable under the current circumstances, he added.

The government’s position

Meanwhile, Md Mafidul Islam, head of the general economic division of the Planning Commission, told this correspondent that the estimates of overseas employment under the “eighth plan of the financial year” have been set in consultation with stakeholder concerns.

He also said the 8FYP had been prepared during the pandemic period.

Contacted, Md Kawser Ahmed, member of the planning committee, declined to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, responding to a question about the overseas labor market, a Planning Commission official said that while the Seventh Five-Year Plan is realistic, the same is not true for the 8FYP.

Promoting overseas labor migration, especially to oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, was an important part of 7FYP’s employment strategy. Unlike national job creation, progress in this regard has been much better. The actual outflow of migrant labor has far exceeded the 7FYP target, he observed.

Compared to the expected average annual outflow of migrant labor of 0.4 million, the actual outflow was 0.7 million. This additional external employment provided a big cushion and mitigated the negative effects of a slowdown in the creation of domestic jobs, revealed the member of the committee.

The government has supported outward migration with a number of supporting policies, including making better information available to potential migrants, supporting the inflow of funds through better banking services and special incentives in exchange rate, reducing the cost of migration by providing protection against exploitation by intermediaries and establishing the Probashi Kalyan Bank to provide low-cost lending options and provide better training opportunities, a- he added.

Malaysian outlook

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed will fly to Malaysia on Sunday with a four-member delegation and is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian minister. Human Resources Seri M Saravanan on recruiting Bangladeshi workers. in the Southeast Asian labor market.

Previously, the Malaysian cabinet decided to reopen the recruitment of Bangladeshi and Indonesian workers as it had been closed from 2018.

The Southeast Asian country has decided to open the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in all sectors, including plantations, agriculture, manufacturing, services, mining, construction and household services.

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