Govt urged to engage Bangladesh diaspora with dev activities

Europe based Bangladeshi expatriates have urged Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad to take necessary steps to engage the Bangladeshi diaspora with different socioeconomic and development activities in the country.

Speaking at a webinar on Wednesday night, they suggested the government to strengthen labour wings of Bangladesh missions abroad to address problems and ensure welfare activities to the migrant workers who have been immensely contributing to the national economy.

They made the remarks as EWOE minister Imran Ahmad spoke at the webinar as chief guest while Netherlands based BASUG Diaspora and Development chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua and BASUG Germany chapter president Dr Ahmed Ziauddin attended as special guests.

Dr Mojubur Doftori who led BASUG chapter in Finland moderated the webinar, organized by British Bangla news portal based in London.

Minister Imran Ahmad said that his government would provide the backup support if Bangladeshi diaspora would come up with projects to invest in Bangladesh.

“You have to show interest to do something in Bangladesh. Then I will extend my whole support to backup you,” he said in a reply to the participants.

The minister expressed his remarks as Bikash Chowdury informed that BASUG had contributed to a diaspora project on women empowerment and establishment of a hospital in Habiganj district

A group of 12 diaspora created a diabetic hospital in Habiganj, he said that while its operation was launched few years ago there were about 8,000 patients under the hospital.

“So effective effort can be taken by the government to encourage more diaspora to come up more investment in Bangladesh,” said Bikash Chowdury Barua, also a global migration expert.

Emphasizing on diaspora engagement, he cited that Philippine government has strongly engaged its diaspora in all development activities especially in the international forum like GFMD, but it was totally invisible in Bangladesh.

Referring to a BASUG meeting with former EWOE minister, Bikash said that the smartcards were supposed to be introduced by the government for the expatriates in Europe and America.

In response, Minister Imran Ahmad said that he was not aware about progress of the meeting but assured that he would consider the issue if necessary the organization should submit documents and recommendation in written form to his office.

About corruptions and misbehavior of officials, he said that “If they have correct complaints, they can send me email. I can help solve it and take prompt action.”

Imran Ahmad informed that his ministry’s policy was showing ‘Zero tolerance” to the corruption.

Dr Ahmed Ziauddin, Germany chapter president of BASUG, said that he was very happy to learn that the ministry has taken steps to make a database of the returnee migrants.

He urged the minister to raise a demand for big budgetary allocation for the expatriate welfare ministry which was making the highest contribution to the country’s GDP.

“We think that this ministry should be resourceful,” he said, adding that the government should make more investment for the ministry.

Dr Ziauddin also said that proactive role of Bangladesh embassies was needed like the Philippines to protect migrant workers in destination countries.

“We see that the migrant workers are facing many problems abroad. As the migrant workers continue contribution to Bangladesh, they should get reward.”

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