Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday mentioned her government’s diplomatic efforts to keep the jobs of expatriate Bangladeshis intact amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve kept up our diplomatic efforts so that expatriate Bangladeshis can continue their jobs after the improvement of the corona situation,” she told the House while responding to a supplementary question from ruling Awami League lawmaker Benazir Ahmed.The premier said her government was continuing discussions with every country concerned about this.
Over a diplomatic pressure for bringing back expatriate workers from the Middle Eastern countries, Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken multifaceted diplomatic initiatives to deal with it.
“Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, a diplomatic pressure is on from the Middle Eastern countries for bringing back expatriate workers. But our government has taken multifaceted diplomatic initiatives to ease this pressure,” she said.
As part of the diplomatic efforts, the premier said she sent letters to some heads of state or government.
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment have taken necessary measures maintaining contacts together with different Middle Eastern countries, Sheikh Hasina said.
She further said the government also sent medical equipment and pharmaceutical items to different countries as part of the government’s ‘food and medical diplomacy’.“Only 22,000 expatriate workers returned home so far. The number of the returnees is still low due to timely diplomatic initiatives taken by the present Awami League-led government,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina urged manpower recruiting agencies to send workers abroad after proper authentication of jobs and employers.
Referring to the recent killing of Bangladeshis in Libya, she said her government is taking proper action against the recruiting agencies which sent them there.
“If recruiting agencies export manpower following proper rules, Bangladeshi workers will not fall in trouble in foreign land,” she said.
She also said the people of the country should be aware of illegal migration.
“Despite so many facilities, including collateral loans, provided by the government, jobseekers lose their lives going abroad through illegal channels to catch ‘golden deer’ there.”
Sheikh Hasina said the government is taking proper measures against the recruiting agencies responsible for illegal migration.
Mentioning different measures taken for the expatriates, she said in the OIC forum Bangladesh has proposed forming a fund for them.
Different countries are sending back illegal immigrants and those who are engaged in different crimes, said the Prime Minister.
She also said the government has taken measures for providing incentive and loan for the expatriates who have already returned home.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has kept a separate Tk 2000-crore stimulus package to provide Tk 500 crore each for Probsahi Kalyan Bank, Palli Sanchay Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, and expatriate returnees can take loan from the organisations at 4 percent interest.
She said overseas jobseekers can also avail of collateral-free loan from the Probsahi Kalyan Bank.
In reply to another question from ruling party MP AKM Rahmatullah, the Prime Minister said the role of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Language Movement had been erased from history.
Many people, even intellectuals, in their writings used to forget to mention the role of the Father of the Nation in the Language Movement, she said, adding that it was an attempt to erase his name completely from history as propaganda was carried out against him after 1975.
Sheikh Hasina, also elder daughter of Bangabandhu, said she started publishing a book over the secret reports of Pakistani Intelligence Branch against the Father of the Nation so that the people of the country can know the real history.
Responding to a question from opposition Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque, the PM said Bangabandhu had not shared, even with family members, the sufferings he endured in jail.
“The name (of Bangabandhu), which was completely removed after 1975, has returned today. Actually, no one can erase history,” Hasina mentioned.