JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED
Published — Thursday 10 January 2013
Last update 10 January 2013 12:11 am
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called to increase the import of manpower from her country to Saudi Arabia.
She made her statement to Shoura Council Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh, who visited the Bangladeshi prime minister at her official residence Monday evening.
Al-Asheikh is currently on a visit to Bangladesh, where he also met with President Zillur Rahman on Tuesday at his Bagabhaban palace in Dhaka. The president also urged the visiting Saudi delegation to increase the import of manpower. Bangladesh state media quoted Prime Minister Hasina as calling upon the Saudi government to invest more in her country’s industrial and business sector for mutual benefits of the two countries.
She said the two holy places of Makkah and Madinah are of utmost importance to the people of Bangladesh. As a result, she said, the number of Haj pilgrims from Bangladesh is increasing every year.
Al-Asheikh also visited the Bangladeshi Parliament and met with speaker Abdul Hamid and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.
The visit is one of the high profile visits in recent times from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh. Approximately 2 million Bangladeshi nationals are working in the Kingdom.
According to data available by the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), Saudi Arabia used to recruit some 150,000 Bangladeshis each year until 2008. However, for the last three years, the average of recruitments stood at around 10,000 yearly.
The Bangladeshi minister of labor, employment, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, informed recently that the government had taken various steps, including the registration of overseas workers and issuance of a smart card, to ensure anyone with a criminal background cannot work abroad. He also said he had invited the Saudi labor minister to visit Bangladesh to see the recruitment process and training programs for the workers who are going abroad for jobs.
Last month, a meeting of the Saudi-Bangladesh Joint Economic Commission was scheduled to be held in Riyadh, but was postponed.