Today was the day of the ‘Remittance Fighters’! The government of Bangladesh marked “National Expatriates’ Day” for the first time today with the objective of honouring 1.20 crores of expatriates of Bangladesh living abroad and involving them more in the country’s development. Presently, in 147 countries across the world, our expatriates work and send remittance to the country.
On 27th December 2022, ‘30 December’ was approved in the cabinet meeting chaired by the honorable Prime Sheikh Hasina as “National Expatriates’ Day” to be observed every year.
At the instruction of the government, the day was simultaneously observed in all 64 districts and all sub-districts in the country as well as in all Bangladeshi embassies around the world.
YPSA, as a non-government organization working on the migration and counter trafficking issues, particularly expatriates’ welfare for a long time in the country, expressed its solidarity with the government’s initiative and actively participated in celebration of today’s “National Expatriates’ Day” organized by the Cox’s Bazar District Administration and District Employment and Manpower Office (DEMO) of Cox’s Bazar.
The celebration started with a rally that marched in Cox’s Bazar city from 9:40am to 10:00am. The District Commissioner (DC), Mr. Muhammad Shaheen Imran inaugurated and led the rally. Accompanied by him were Mr. Bibhishan Kanti Das, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Ms. Sharmin Sultana, Assistant Commissioner & Executive Magistrate (Establishment, LG, Expatriate Welfare) and Mr. MD. Jashim Uddin Chowdhury, Additional Superintendent of Police (Traffic), Cox’s Bazar. Representatives from different NGOs including YPSA, Winrock International, BITA, IOM, members of Law Enforcement Agencies, banks, expatriates and officials of different government departments participated in the rally. From YPSA, Mr. Jishu Barua, Program Manager and Counter Trafficking Focal, Ms. Hosne Ara Rekha, Project Manager, Mr. Tanim Rahman Mitu, Project Officer and other officials attended the rally.
The rally was followed by a discussion program held in the DC conference room at 10:00am today. The discussion program was presided over by Mr. Bibhishan Kanti Das, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) while Mr. Muhammad Shaheen Imran, District Commissioner was present as the Chief Guest in the discussion program. The program was anchored by Ms. Sharmin Sultana, Assistant Commissioner & Executive Magistrate (Establishment, LG, Expatriate Welfare), Cox’s Bazar.
In the program, the Key Note on the National Expatriates’ Day was presented by Mr. Liton Kanti Chowdhury, Assistant Director, DEMO, Cox’s Bazar. A panel of discussants from different sectors took part in the discussion program.
In his speech, Mr. Jishu Barua, Program Manager and Counter Trafficking Focal of YPSA, said, “Currently, Bangladesh is the 6th expatriates sending country in the world. It is really a matter of pride. The remittance is contributing to the growth of our country’s economy a lot. But, compared to other expatriates sending countries in the world, Bangladesh is getting less volume of remittance as most of the people who go abroad are not skilled and trained on any specific trades. That is why countries like Philippines are earning more remittance than Bangladesh although the number of expatriates of such countries is less than that of us. So, there is a huge room for improvement and we can increase our remittance size double or triple. Maximum aspirant migrants of Bangladesh do not know about the facilities and arrangements that the Bangladesh government has made available at different departments like Technical Training Center (TTC), DEMO (District Employment and Manpower Office) for the aspirant migrants. So, it is all of our responsibility to promulgate information of the service/facilities of the government at the community level. “
Mr. MD. Jashim Uddin Chowdhury, Additional Superintendent of Police (Traffic) said, “People should take facilities and services like training, information from the different government departments for going abroad for jobs. We regularly receive cases of fraud on money dealing for sending abroad with higher salaries and good jobs. After being deceived by the brokers, many people come to us to recover money that they give with a hope to get a higher salary and good job in foreign countries. It is important to reach out more people to share the information about government facilities and services for the aspirant migrants. Then, they will not be deceived while going abroad.”
Mr. Mohammad Shahjahan, Principal, Technical Training Center (TTC), Ramu, Cox’s Bazar informed the program participants that classes of TTC, Ramu are going to start on 9th January, 2024. At the new TTC, there will be different training on different trades available for the aspirant migrants. They will be able to receive the training for a cost of Tk. 200.
Mr. Bibhishan Kanti Das, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) told that in Cox’s Bazar, many people take sea route to go abroad for jobs in countries like Malaysia, which is totally illegal. From Bangladesh, sea route is officially not permitted to go abroad. Many people often come to us to help repatriate their other families, who have been detained in jails of other countries like Malaysia, Myanmar. It is really challenging work to process the repatriation of those detainees, who illegally go to those countries. It is very important to verify all the documents rigorously as there exist more than one million Rohingyas.
Mr. Muhammad Shaheen Imran, District Commissioner said, “Last year, our expatriates sent approximately USD 22 billion, which has contributed to our economy. Life of expatriates is not easy in the foreign countries. They send remittance by their hard work. We should not think that they get jobs instantly they land in the foreign countries. They struggle hard to earn money there to financially support their families as well as the country. So, we should respect them for their contributions, when they stay there and when they come back to the country as well.”
“Sometimes, family members of those expatriates misuse their hard-earned money in different ways. When they return to the country, they find no money and become vulnerable and frustrated. We should be careful about proper use of their hard-earned money.”, he added.
The District Commissioner observed that many expatriates send money through ‘Hundi’ instead of the banking channels. As a result, the country loses huge amount of remittance, if they send the remittance through the banking channels, it could boost our economy more. So, we should inspire expatriates to send remittances through the banking channels instead of through ‘Hundi’.
With the end of the speech of the District Commissioner, the program came to an end.