Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday put emphasis on a vigorous, well-coordinated and worldwide response from countries, international organisations, civil society organisations and private sector to face the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
"The United Nations and international organizations will be at the centre of all recovery measures to be supported by G-7, G-20, OECD and international financial institutions," she said.
The Prime Minister said this in a recorded video message played at the ILO’s ‘Global Leaders’ Day’ that took place through digital platform.
She said that everything happening all around us, the promises of decent jobs for all seems hard to realise individually."But I am convinced that together, we can do it."
Sheikh Hasina said that coronavirus does not discriminate but its adverse impacts severely discriminates against the vulnerable, especially the migrants and women workers.
In this regard she put forward her three suggestions. These are firstly, jobs of migrant workers at the overseas markets must be retained during this crisis; secondly, in case of lay-off, compensation and other dismissal benefits must be paid in full along with ensuring their safety and health benefits; and lastly, after the pandemic, these workers would have to be recruited for reactivating the economy.
"I must here mention the huge loss of jobs of our migrant workers and the resulting shortfall in remittance. It is a great concern for us as remittance is a key component to achieve the SDGs," she said.
Currently, she said, repatriation of these jobless migrant workers has proved to be a huge challenge. The World Bank predicted that Bangladesh will lose more than 20 percent of its earnings from remittance.
"Under these circumstances, we may remember the Centenary Declaration of ILO where all of us recognized to transform our world through technological innovation, demographic shifts, climate change and globalisation."
The Prime Minister said that the global COVID-19 pandemic that has affected nations, especially workers the most.
"This global calamity has now threatened the very base of globalization and connectivity that all of us have carefully built over the years. This is no longer just a health problem but becomes a full-fledged global economic and social crisis," she said.
Like many other crises, Sheikh Hasina said, the LDCs and developing countries are facing the main burden although the crisis did not start with them.
During this pandemic, she said that domestic and external supply chains were severely disrupted.
"We lost export orders of billions of dollars, many of our industries were closed and millions of workers lost their jobs. Our small industries lost most of its resources and markets, and above all, our agriculture suffered huge loss due to supply chain disruption."
She also said in this situation, Bangladesh is hosting 1.1 million forcibly evicted Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Regarding Bangladesh's steps to face COVID-19 the Prime Minister said that when the crisis of COVID-19 began to unfold, the government immediately announced a 12.1-billion-dollar stimulus package for various sectors of economy as well as support different segments of the society. This support package is equivalent to 3.7 percent of the country's GDP.
To support workers in export industries, she said the government has given about 1 billion dollar for paying wages of the workers.
"We provided cash and other incentives directly to more than 50 million people who lost their daily income during this pandemic," she said.
The event was held in the Virtual Global Summit on “Covid-19 and the World of Work - Building a Better Future of work on International Labour Organization” to discuss the challenges and responses of countries and regions that are still battling with the pandemic and of those are starting the recovery process.
World leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the Republic of Korea MOON Jae-in, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Thailand General Prayut CHAN-O-CHA, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan LÖFVEN, and UN Secretary General Antonio GUTERRES also gave video messages.
A case was filed against 16 people including the managing director and chairman of Regent Hospital for their alleged involvement in issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates.
Inspector Faisal of Rab filed the case with Uttara West Police Station on Tuesday night, officer-in-charge of the police station, Tapan Chandra Saha told UNB on Wednesday.
Earlier, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) sealed off the head office of Regent Group and its hospital in the city’s Uttara after they were found involved in issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates and collecting money from Covid-19 patients.
A mobile court of the elite force conducted drives at the head office of the group and the Uttara branch of its hospital separately on Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, Rab also conducted separate drives at the Uttara and Mirpur branches of Regent Hospital and arrested eight people for issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates and collecting money from Covid-19 patients.
India has said repatriation of Rohingyas in a quick, safe and sustainable manner will be good for all noting that it feels the necessity of Rohingya repatriation.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar conveyed to his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen that India feels the necessity of quick repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
The Indian Minister has written a letter to the Bangladesh Foreign Minister where the issue was mentioned, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Jaishankar highly appreciated Bangladesh's generosity and humanity shown by sheltering Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
He reaffirmed his government's commitment to stay beside the Bangladesh government and its people to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.
The Indian External Affairs Minister also said the partnership between the two countries will continue for the development of the two countries.
Bangladesh wants other countries to share the burden of providing better life and living for persecuted Rohingyas in their own countries or relocate and settle them in third countries.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen recently said almost three years have passed and although Myanmar agreed to take them back, not a single Rohingya went back home yet.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdowns in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Speakers in a virtual dialogue on Wednesday underscored the need for a strong coordination among the government institutions and the NGOs to tackle the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
They came up with the suggestion in a webinar on ‘Experiences from the current situation at the grassroots level: Achievements and Challenges’ organised by Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convenor of the platform and distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) moderated the function while Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of civil society platform Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) presided over it.
Badiul Alam Majumdar said different organizations have taken vast programmes to tackle the coronavirus problems but should be done in a coordinated manner.
“We have to lay emphasis on three issues -- communication, coordination and community engagement---to tackle the COVID-19 situation. There is lack of resources and absence of coordination in the country. Data scarcity is also a big problem here,” he said.
‘Everyone should be more conscious to prevent the pandemic. The government should utilize NGOs and volunteers to tackle the COVID-19 situation,” he added.
Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and former adviser to a previous caretaker government, Rasheda K Choudhury said there is a lack of coordination among the NGOs during the works. “Even data scarcity is a big problem in the country. It should be addressed.” she also said.
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow of CPD, said natural disaster including recent Amphan posed a challenge amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
“Our country’s problems should be resolved at local level through good coordination. Accurate data is significant to resolve these properly,” he also said.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya suggested the government to take proper policy strategy to implement the SDGs overcoming the existing situation.
Authorities in North Macedonia rescued 211 migrants, including 144 Bangladeshis packed into a truck near the country's southern border with Greece, said police on Tuesday.
During a routine check on a regional road, a border patrol stopped the truck around midnight Monday near the town of Gevgelija, and found the migrants including the Bangladeshis and 67 Pakistani migrants, reports AP.
Among the rescued migrants, there were also 63 children.
Police also arrested the truck driver, a 27-year-old Macedonian national identified by only by his initials E.P.
The migrants were detained and transferred to a shelter transit center in Gevgelija pending deportation back to Greece.
The Greek border with North Macedonia was closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but trafficking networks remain active in the area, ferrying migrants who make their way from Turkey into Greece and then head north toward more prosperous countries in the European Union's center and north.