Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has urged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give due recognition to the Bangladeshi workers' contribution in the global and national economy.
He said Bangladeshi workers are strengthened by the mantra of hardship to keep the progressive trend of the economy of the country and the world uninterrupted.
Around 11.6 million Bangladeshi people have been employed in various fields worldwide, while 36% of the foreigners working at managerial level in Malaysia are Bangladeshi citizens.
He further said, "Praise for the efforts of Bangladeshi workers working in every region of the world, including Europe, America, the Middle East and East Asia, to revive the global economy will encourage all expatriate workers across the world."
The finance minister made the statement at the round table meeting that was held online on Wednesday as a part of the World Bank and IMF's annual meeting.
At the meeting, the finance minister said although it was expected that the amount of remittances in Bangladesh will decrease due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it has accelerated recently.
In the fiscal year 2019-2020, the country received $18.2 billion in remittances, the highest ever. In the first quarter of FY2020-2021, remittances reached $6.71 billion, which is 49% higher than that received in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The finance minister said concerns about migrant workers unable to leave their homes due to the global economic downturn cannot be ignored.
Between the beginning of April and 15 October, around 1.95 lakh expatriate workers returned to the country, while any new worker could not go abroad from April to June.
He further said till 15 October of the current fiscal year around 2.8 lakh workers went abroad from Bangladesh, which is 26% higher than that in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Asked what initiatives has been taken to save the workers, the minister said the government is helping workers to return to work abroad within the shortest possible time. Expatriate workers have already been returning to their workplaces abroad.
He also said the government had arranged a special social security measure for the workers. The government announced an incentive package of $1.3 million for the expatriate workers returning in April and May.
At the meeting, the finance minister said returning expatriate workers who lost their jobs abroad have been enlisted in rehabilitation program worth $83 million, while they were also included in other social security plans. In the budget of this fiscal Tk2,000 crore was allocated for this sector.
An employment creating programme worth $240 million especially for the social safety of the probable expatriate workers will be realised in the future to help these workers get jobs abroad.