The government will provide Tk 13,500 to each of some 200,000 expatriate workers, who have returned home facing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They will get the financial support under a Tk 4.27 billion project that was approved during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday. ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting virtually, reports BSS.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said the Wage Earners Welfare Board under the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment will implement the Tk 4.27 billion project by December 2023.
The World Bank will provide Taka 4.25 billion as a loan for the project.
Under this project, Tk 13,500 would be provided to each of some 200,000 expatriate workers, who have returned home due to the negative impact of COVID-19 worldwide, the minister said.
He said the workers will be given necessary orientation and counselling while some 23,500 selected skilled workers would be facilitated to get jobs both at home and abroad.
The planning minister said these expatriate workers have returned home from abroad due to various reasons and they have contributed a lot over the years towards the development of the country.
“Now the time has come to pay them back and for this, support will be provided to these returnee workers so that they can be involved in respectable jobs again,” he added.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said around 500,000 expatriate workers have so far returned home while 200,000 returnee workers would be given support under the project.
He informed that a rich database would be made under the project to ascertain the actual number of returnee workers following the impact of the pandemic and thus support would be provided to them.
Joining the briefing, Planning Commission Member Sharifa Khan said that initially 200,000 returnee workers would be included under the project and the project coverage would be expanded further in future.
She informed that the support of Taka 13,500 to each returnee worker would help them bear their initial expenses and thus allow them to collect necessary certificates from various agencies.
The project area covers 32 districts namely - Dhaka, Tangail, Kishoreganj, Narsingdi, Munshiganj, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Pabna, Bogura, Naogaon, Rajshahi, Sirajganj, Barishal, Patuakhali, Kushtia, Jashore, Khulna, Feni, Noakhali, Chandpur, Chattogram, Brahmanbaria, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Cumilla, Sylhet, and Sunamganj.
The project operations also include creating linkage among the technical and financial support providing agencies and the returnee workers so that they can get financial support, creating awareness among the common people including the returnee workers about the operations of Wage Earners Welfare Board through holding meetings, workshops and seminars at the district, Upazila and Union level.
The ECNEC held the first meeting of the current fiscal (2021-2022) on Wednesday. It approved a total of 10 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 25.75 billion during the meeting.
“Out of the total project cost, Taka 21.50 billion will come from the Government of Bangladesh while the rest of Taka 4.25 billion as project assistance,” the planning minister informed.
The premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while concerned Ministers, State Ministers, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned attended the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.