Bangladesh’s manpower export drops by 21 percent

December 29th, 2010 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Dec 29 (IANS) Bangladesh’s labour export, the country’s second biggest source of foreign exchange, has fallen by 21 percent, an official study has said.Besides, the remittances have gone up by only 1.4 percent during 2010, the lowest in the last three decades.

The poor performance, belying hopes of a surge after global recession ended, Tuesday prompted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to appeal to the newly appointed envoy of Kuwait to take in more Bangladeshi workers.

Kuwait, that had 40,000 Bangladeshi workers some years back, accepted only 21 persons this year.

Kuwait reflects the declining trend noticed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf region took over a half of Bangladeshi workers abroad who sent home $10 billion in 2008-09.

Hasina, during her recent visits there, has appealed to the governments in these countries to increase their intake of Banladeshi workers.

What is more worrying to the government is that there has been a negative flow of manpower to the largest Bangladeshi manpower market, Saudi Arabia, since the beginning of the year 2009.

Of the estimated seven million expatriate Bangladeshis, two million are employed in Saudi Arabia, followed by 1.4 million in the UAE and 1.4 million each in Oman and Kuwait, Bangladesh’s Financial Express newspaper said.

Manpower exports come next only to readymade garmaents and knitwears that fetched $12 billion in 2009.

The Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) came up with the findings in its report, “Labour Migration 2010: Achievement and Constraints”.

Labour and Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain admitted that export of the workers had decreased but argued that the demand for workers had shrunk in the international market, the New Age newspaper said.

He said that 385,000 Bangladesh workers went abroad in 2010, less than 475,000 in 2009.

“Manpower export will increase next year. I am hopeful that Malaysia and Kuwait will take workers from Bangladesh,” he said.

However, Tasneem Siddiqui, head of the RMMRU, said that the government had failed to find any new markets for the migrant workers due to the lack of coordination between the labour and employment ministry and foreign affairs ministry.

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