Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday highlighted the need for focusing on export to earn foreign currencies instead of depending on remittance.
"We have to focus more on export for earning foreign currencies instead of depending on remittance only," she said.
The prime minister also asked all concerned to diversify local products to explore new markets abroad.
She said this while inaugurating 24 Technical Training Centres (TTCs) including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Centennial TTC at the upazila level, joining virtually from her official residence, Ganabhaban.
The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) organised the event at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in city.
"We have to take initiatives to earn foreign currencies by making multidimensional local products to find fresh markets abroad," she said.
The prime minister said some people of the country are making illogical comments and spreading rumours about the foreign currency reserve, adding it is common that the reserve would go up or down.
"I believe, there is enough foreign currency reserve to purchase food for at least three months," she continued.
But, she said Bangladesh has to reduce dependency on other countries for consumer products and food items.
"We can properly utilize the manpower and fertile lands we have. We have to modernise the process of preserving foods and establish food processing industries on a larger scale," the prime minister added.
In such way, the demand of the local markets would be fulfilled and locally made products can be exported to earn foreign currencies, she said further.
Expatriates' welfare and overseas employment minister Imran Ahmad, its parliamentary affairs committee chairman barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, secretary Ahmed Munirus Saleheen and BMET director general Md Shahidul Alam spoke on the occasion.
A documentary on the TTCs was screened at the function.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has sent more than 9.6 million (963,0505) workers abroad and received USD 21.03 billion as remittance during FY 2021-22 which is five times higher than that of FY 2005-06 during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.
Due to corruption, irregularities and syndicate, the numbers of manpower export during the BNP regime had reduced significantly as they had only sent about 2.5 million (2,52,0902) workers in FY 2005-06, she said.
The prime minister asked the people who are criticising the government now about foreign reserve to realise the situation of Bangladesh during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.
Rather, the Awami League government has expanded the overseas job markets in 55 countries and increased manpower exports many folds, she said.
The prime minister emphasised on giving proper vocational, technical and scientific trainings to the Bangladeshi people, so they can cope up with the advanced technologies and fourth industrial revolution to meet the growing demand of skilled manpower at home and abroad.
In this connection, she said 100 economic zones are being set up across the country which will also require skilled manpower.
She asked the authorities concerned to focus on providing training on how to drive heavy vehicles considering its huge demand abroad.
She also stressed the need for working in unison of all the concerned ministries on sending manpower abroad.
"Home ministry is entrusted with issuing passports while foreign ministry with finding out new labour markets, industries ministry with giving certificate and the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry with sending manpower abroad. Each of these ministries should work together," she opined.
She also suggested forming a committee with a representative from each of the ministry to ease the process related to sending manpower abroad. The prime minister called for including civil aviation and tourism ministry to this end.
Sheikh Hasina also asked all concerned to make sure that the expatriate Bangladeshis can easily send their earnings to the country through banking channels as many of them are now facing difficulties in doing so and mentioning the issue of sending money through illegal means including Hundi.
The concerned ministries can work together with consultation of Bangladesh Bank in this regard, she added. She also suggested deploying an officer to oversee the wellbeing of the expatriate workers.
She asked the young generation not to fall into the clutches of brokers being allured by their false promises.
The foreign job seekers in many cases have lost everything including their lives and money collected from selling their ancestral houses and lands being caught up with the brokers, she said.
She asked all to go abroad for jobs by taking loans from the Probashi Kallayan Bank, mentioning that loans are being disbursed from the bank without any security.
She hoped that more skilled manpower would be sent abroad through imparting them with proper training at the upazila level TTCs.
With setting up 40 more TTCs and one IMT, a total of 104 TTCs and seven IMT would be established across the country which would be able to train 90 thousand people at once.
While the world was already reeling from the economic meltdown due to Coronavirus pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war pushed the globe into another crisis, she said.
"The war is meaningless as I can see that those who are producing arms, become beneficial from the war and the life of commoners are getting helpless," she said.
The war and subsequent sanctions and counter sanctions have put the world into economic risk, she said.
She further said the developed countries are also facing difficulties and they are now in trouble with preserving power and energy, alongside ensuring food security and they are taking various measures to tackle the situation.
"Such obstacles are very regretful when the countries like us are trying to move towards development and reach a destination. It will not be wise for us to stop here and we have to march ahead," she opined.
Bangladesh is following the strategy of saving energy likewise other countries across the globe, she added.