Repatriation of jobless migrant workers has proved to be a huge challenge, says Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday emphasized on a vigorous, well-coordinated, and worldwide response from countries, international organizations, civil societies, and the 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 in a recorded video message played at the International Labour Organization’s “Global Leaders’ Day” meet.
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, reports UNB.
She said: “Everything that is happening around us. The promises of decent jobs for all seem hard to realize individually. But I am convinced that together, we can do it."
Hasina said that coronavirus does not discriminate but its adverse impact severely discriminates against the vulnerable, especially the migrants and women workers.
In this regard she put forward her three suggestions. These are
- First of all, jobs of migrant workers at the overseas markets must be retained during this crisis
- 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% 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.
Hasine said that the global Covid-19 pandemic that affected nations, especially affected the workers 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, 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 their resources and markets, and above all, our agriculture suffered huge loss due to supply chain disruption," Hasina said.
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 stimulus package for various sectors of economy as well as support different segments of the society. This support package is equivalent to 3.7% of the country's GDP.
To support workers in export industries, she said the government has given about $1 billion 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.
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.