Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said the government will take steps to address the problems of Bangladeshi expatriates living in the Maldives, particularly the air connectivity and money transfer facility to Bangladesh.
“Our Expatriates’ Welfare and Foreign Ministers had talks with you and came to know all your problems. They also informed me about these. On my return home, I’ll do what can be done on many issues,” she said while addressing a reception accorded to her by the Bangladeshi community living in the Maldives.
Sheikh Hasina, now in the Maldives on an official visit, joined the event at Iskandhar School Auditorium in Chaandhanee Magu of Male, virtually from her place of residence there.
She said the government will solve the problems Bangladeshis face in sending money from the Maldives by making arrangements for the exchange of currencies between Bangladesh and the Maldives.
Noting that the expatriates in the Maldives have to suffer losses in buying dollars to send money back home, the Prime Minister said, ‘I’ll take steps to make arrangements for the exchange of money (between the two currencies).”
She said the government will take steps so that expatriates can send money from the Maldives through Probashi Kallyan Bank, set up by her government for the welfare of Bangladeshi expatriates.
“I’ll ask the Probashi Kallyan Bank to take proper steps so that the Bangladesh Bank appoints an agent for money exchange,” Hasina added.
About air connectivity, the Prime Minister said Biman Bangladesh Airlines will launch its flights with the Maldives. “We’ve a goal so that our government airlines – Biman— starts its flight operation with the Maldives,” she said.
Mentioning that some 1 lakh Bangladeshis are now there in the Maldives, Hasina said the issue of undocumented Bangladeshis was also discussed with the Maldivian authorities so that they can stay there legally.
In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed with the Expatriates’ Welfare Minister so that they (undocumented Bangladeshis) would face no problem to stay in the Maldives, she said.
She said the government now provides a 2 percent incentive on remittance inflow and the government will take training programmes for Bangladeshi workers intended to go to the Maldives in line with job demands.
Noting that the Maldives could be a good market for Bangladeshi products, she said the government will consider what kind of goods can be exported assessing the demands of the island country.
The PM extended special thanks to the Maldivian government for bringing all Bangladeshis in their country -- both legal and illegal ones -- under its Covid-19 inoculation drives.
Hasina urged the overseas job seekers not to go abroad through middlemen to catch ‘golden deer’ (jobs with handsome salary) by selling all assets and property.
“You can tell those who want to come abroad not to come through middlemen,” she said, adding that now the country is Digital Bangladesh and the digital centres are there throughout the country, where there is a scope for overseas job seekers to be registered.
The Expatriates Welfare Ministry would have the list of registered names. And the overseas jobseekers could go abroad through it, she said.
“There’s no need to give money to middlemen by selling houses and lands. Instead, loans can be taken from Probashi Kallyan Bank …even the loans are collateral-free in some cases,” said the Prime Minister.
Hasina said her goal is to change the fate of people and give them a decent life as Father of the Nation Bangabandhu had dreamt of. ”If I can do it, I think, that’ll be a befitted reply to those who assassinated my father,” she said.
Focusing on the government's development activities, she said her government has been able to attain the target set in her party's 2008 election manifesto for the development of the country.