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ED: Celebrating our migrant workers

  • Published at 01:57 am January 5th, 2021
migrant workers
File photo shows migrant workers at the Dhaka airport Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune/

We must continue to strive to ensure that our migrant workers are protected

The contribution to our economic growth and its continued sustainability from our migrant workers is one that cannot be denied: As of 2019, Bangladesh was the eighth biggest remittance recipient in the world and remittances sent by Bangladeshis abroad accounted for close to 7% of our GDP.

With the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, however, the future of remittances seemed dire: Both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank had predicted significant declines in the sector, as was reasonable to predict, with most economies in the world slowing down and struggling to make ends meet.

While this was the case in the initial stages of the pandemic, it is a matter of great pride that Bangladeshis across the world have done the unthinkable and achieved the exact opposite, with last year ending with a total remittance inflow of $2.1 billion, up by 23.5% from the year prior, and proving wrong all such predictions to the contrary.

This was not mere coincidence but, rather, a product of the dedication of our migrant workers to keep sending money back to their loved ones at home and a government initiative – a 2% cash incentive on inflows sent through official channels – which allowed the economy to keep growing, even if it was at a slower rate than before.

This achievement is another indication of the Bangladeshi expatriate community’s resilience and dedication and should be celebrated by all of us, with their contributions having had significant impact on the overall health of the economy and subsequent increases in standards of living.

And our celebration should not end with mere words: We must continue to strive as a nation to ensure that our migrant workers and their rights are protected, no matter where they are in the world, and work towards improving their lives as significant contributors to our nation’s development journey.