Increasing earning from manpower export

The readymade garments (RMG) industries of Bangladesh together with remittances from overseas Bangladeshi workers, are the twin pillars supporting the Bangladesh economy. Sound performance in both of these sectors is crucial for the basic macro economic stability of Bangladesh.
Manpower export has been more and more impressively bolstering the foreign currency reserve that stood at a little over US$ 5 billion some five years ago. The reserve position is now six times larger at over US$ 31.0 billion and the steady rise in manpower exports have a lot to do with the comfortable and much improved reserve position. The reasonably good reserve position has helped the economy to absorb different shocks and to sustain its viability. But the probable decline in the export of RMG in the future, creates the imperative of doing better in manpower export to keep the reserve in a comfortable position and hedge the macro economy of the country.
According to reports, hardly any abatement is noted in the activities of the rackets which have been taking large sums of money from gullible people with promises of sending them abroad with jobs. While every four out of five may succeed in going abroad to take up employment, the fifth one in Bangladesh becomes the victim of fraud.
This has been happening year after year when Bangladesh’s competitors in manpower exports from neigbouringIndia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been streamlining their manpower trade with great beneficial effects of the same for their individuals and their national economies. Internally, these countries have developed conditions where committing of frauds in the manpower export sector have become very difficult. The foreign missions of these countries are also found to be reasonably active in ensuring the rights and interests of their expatriate workers abroad. Thus, foreign employers feel obliged to faithfully pay contracted amounts to their workers and also to provide other pledged financial and other benefits. Workers from these countries are also not allowed to take up jobs at wages far below the market price in the employing countries.
Governments in these countries also have been maintaining and increasing resources for the training of workers with the eye for overseas markets. The overall policy in these countries is to send out more skilled than unskilled workers because the earnings from the skilled ones are greater . Financial institutions like banks in India and Pakistan provide loans on easy terms to workers to pay off the fees of recruitment agencies and for other costs. Thus, the amounts that these countries are able to earn from their overseas working people from pursuing such policies are far greater than what is being earned by Bangladesh.
Therefore, it is imperative to prepare policies and implement them sincerely for Bangladesh to realise its great potential from manpower exports. The first task in order would be ensuring that unscrupulous manpower firms cannot function in any form. All authorised manpower exporting firms must be made to operate honestly and this should include taking only the government approved fees from different categories of workers.
Bangladeshi missions abroad need to be geared to play out their due role to fully meet the representational needs of the country’s expatriate workers. Specially the nests of corruption found in our missions around the world who are in many cases directly responsible for the woes of our workers, the same should be flushed very clean indeed. Each mission should be staffed with competent labour attaches and equally efficient supporting staff. But the work of these officials should be closely monitored and evaluated . Accountability should be in-built in their employment contracts with the missions.
Like the other subcontinental countries, official training opportunities for potential expatriate workers must increase and the aim of training ought to be creation of skilled manpower in diverse areas for overseas job markets. The ones who will take up employment abroad must be prevented from agreeing to accept wages or salaries below a ceiling in their respective categories. Financial organisations should be encouraged to run schemes to extend easy loans for the overseas workers to help them in the payment of their fees to recruitment agencies and meet other costs.