Experts at an international seminar on Wednesday urged the government to take effective initiatives to engage non-resident Bangladeshis in the national development by forming precise policy, holding annual NRB conference and doing research in this area.
Economic Relations Division of the finance ministry and the United Nations Development Programme jointly organised the seminar titled ‘NRB engagement in national development: strategies and way forward’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
Collectively or individually, diaspora community can use their finance,
time and intellectual resources for poverty eradication, private sector expansion, enhancing global competitiveness and the overall development of the country, experts said.
They said the size of Bangladeshi diaspora is large and it has been growing in last few decades.
Diasporas are those who are permanently residing in different countries with maintaining some sort of ties with the country of origin.
Finance minister AMA Muhith was present at the seminar as chief guest.
Muhith said, ‘We will provide more incentives to the NRBs apart from some mechanism for providing export incentives under the finance ministry. Although the incentives are now given through an annual event, we might bring in half-yearly events in future for the purpose.’
He said that the government would arrange annual NRB conference in Bangladesh and outside the country to bring them under one roof for better engagement.
Dhaka University professor Mobassar Monem in a research paper said the Bangladeshi diasporas have immense potential to make substantial contribution to the nation’s development in terms of sharing skills, expertise, technology and knowledge.
He demonstrated the benefits of diaspora engagement and finding ways of linking the NRBs in the process of development in Bangladesh.
Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Nomita Halder said, ‘We are doing market researches for creating diversified jobs for the overseas employees in different markets.’
The ministry is planning to open a separate section for the diaspora community under its welfare wing, she said adding ‘Diasporas get CIP status from the ministry’.
UNDP Bangladesh country director Sudipto Mukherjee said, ‘The UN commits supporting Bangladesh in bringing contributions from the NRBs.
‘We should acknowledge the commitments from the NRBs and people living abroad can come and contribute to the development of Bangladesh,’ he said.
ERD secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam said that the NRBs could contribute to the development programmes of the country with sharing knowledge, direct investments and the development of human capital.
He said that as part of the initiative, different scopes of planning could contribute to more engagement of the diaspora community.
There is now a realising need for institutional development for the diaspora community for strong engagement, he added.
Anir Chowdhury, policy adviser to a2i Program at the Prime Minister’s Office, presented the overall situation of the diaspora community globally and sketched out areas where works are needed to be done in order to engage the diasporas in the areas of philanthropy, investment and expert affiliation.
It is perceived that about one crore Bangladeshis are living abroad, of which 24 lakh Bangladeshis are living abroad permanently either as citizens or with other valid documents in as many as 162 countries.
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