ECNEC approves Tk 4,300cr project to groom youth-folk as workforce

Publish: 7:28 PM, September 7, 2021 | Update: 7:28 PM, September 7, 2021

DHAKA,  – The government today approved a Taka 4,300 crore project to groom the country’s youth folk, women and disadvantageous section of people suitable for getting employed and thus build themselves as demand-based workforce of the country.

The approval came from a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held today with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

The Premier joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while 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.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said a total of eight projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 7,589.72 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 5,009.72 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of Taka 2,580 crore as project assistance,” he added. Of the approved eight projects, six are new while two others are revised projects. State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and Secretaries concerned attended the briefing.

The Department of Technical Education under the Technical and Madrasah Education Division will implement the “Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET)” project with around Taka 4,300 crore by December 2026, the Planning Minister said. Of the total project cost, around Taka 1,720 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of around Taka 2,580 crore as project assistance from the World Bank.

Mannan said there is a lack of skills among the workforce in the country and to overcome that the government had implemented various projects. Dr Shamsul Alam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has termed this project as very time befitting in order to properly utilize the demographic dividend of the country. The ASSET project will equip more than one million youth and workers with skills needed for the jobs of the future.

The project will help youth, women and disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities, learn skills and connect them to the labor market. The project will also help accelerate recovery from the pandemic by supporting industries to retrain their workers. The main project operations include construction of non residential building, 15 acres of land acquisition, imparting necessary training, holding seminars, conferences, procuring ICT and computer equipments, providing support to technical and stipend education and thus creating awareness on the pandemic.

Planning Commission officials said the project will help modernize and build resilience of the technical vocational education and training sector in Bangladesh. The project will benefit further the informal sector workers through expanding the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme, the official added. The day’s ECNEC meeting also approved a Taka 1,142.27 crore project to construct some 3,040 residential flats for the cleaning workers of 66 Pourasabhas of the country.

Dr Shamsul Alam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier directed to ensure accommodation facilities for the cleaning workers. Answering to a question, Planning Commission member Mamun-Al-Rashid said the government is committed to ensure civic facilities to the cleaning workers. He said although the Premier was initially fully against realizing rent from the cleaning workers, but following a request from the LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam to realize minimum rent for the maintenance of the flats, the Prime Minister agreed. But, it was also the expectation of the Prime Minister that not so much amount will be collected from the cleaning workers, Mamun added.

The Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed again that the industrial and household wastes are treated properly before entering rivers. In this regard, the premier asked the authorities concerned especially the industrial owners for ensuring to set up CETPs and ETPs for treating wastes and averting pollution. She also suggested for installing goods scanner and body scanner machines at the Hilly, Burimari and Banglabandha LC stations. Dr Alam said the Prime Minister stressed the need for taking necessary measures so that the rivers in the entire city Corporation areas are not polluted side by side suggested for building a circular alleviated walkway around the capital in future.

Apart from stressing again on dredging of rivers, Dr Alam said the Premier mentioned that shrimp farmers often cut embankments in Gabura and Shyamnagar areas in the coastal areas to bring water. Under the circumstances, the Prime Minister suggested for devising the drainage system of water there in such way so that water could be drained in and thus drained out as per the requirements, Alam added.

The other projects approved in the meeting are Construction of physical infrastructures at Hily, Burimari and Banglabandha LC Stations with Taka 80.61 crore, Erection of pillars along the bank of Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakhya and Balu Rivers, protection of embankments and construction of walkway, jetty and ancillary infrastructures, second phase (first revised) with an additional cost of Taka 332.55 crore, Construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo theatre, Rangpur with Taka 417.65 crore, Strengthening capacity of regional lentil research center in Madaripur and boosting production of lentil production at greater Barishal and Faridpur regions with Taka 168 crore, Development of reclaimed land from the River Jamuna in Sirajganj and thus protecting proposed economic zone (first revised) with an additional cost of Taka 128.22 crore and Rehabilitation of Polder No 15 of Satkhira district with Taka 1020.43 crore.