The prime minister joined the meeting virtually from her official Ganobhaban residence while concerned ministers, state ministers, planning commission members and secretaries concerned attended the meeting from the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, planning minister MA Mannan said that a total of 10 projects were approved involving an overall estimated cost of over Tk 25.75 billion.
“Of the total project cost, over Tk 21.50 billion will come from the government of Bangladesh while the rest of Taka 4.25 billion as project assistance,” he added.
Of the approved 10 projects, seven are new while three are revised. Newly appointed state minister for planning Shamsul Alam, planning commission members and secretaries concerned also joined the briefing.
Mannan said the Wage Earners Welfare Board under the ministry of expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment will implement the Tk 4.27 billion project by December 2023 under which Tk 13,500 would be provided to each of some 200,000 expatriate workers, who have returned home due to the negative impact of Covid-19 worldwide. The World Bank will provide Tk 4.25 billion as loan for the project.
He said the workers will be given necessary orientation and counseling while some 23,500 selected skilled workers would be facilitated to get jobs both at home and abroad.
Commenting on the project, the planning minister said these expatriate workers have returned home from abroad due to various reasons and they have contributed a lot over the years towards the development of the country.
“Now time has come to pay them back and for this, support will be provided to these returnee workers so that they can be involved in respectable jobs again,” he added.
Shamsul Alam said around 500,000 expatriate workers have so far returned home while 200,000 returnee workers would be given support under the project.
He informed that a rich database would be made under the project to ascertain the actual number of returnee workers following the impact of the pandemic and thus support would be provided to them.
Joining the briefing, planning commission member Sharifa Khan said that initially 200,000 returnee workers would be included under the project and the project coverage would be expanded further in future.
She informed that the support of Tk 13,500 to each returnee worker would help them bear their initial expenses and thus allow them to collect necessary certificates from various agencies.
Replying to a query, Sharifa said we have collected the data of around 480,000 returnee workers from the help desk of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
The project area covers 32 districts: Dhaka, Tangail, Kishoreganj, Narsingdi, Munshiganj, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Pabna, Bogura, Naogaon, Rajshahi, Sirajganj, Barishal, Patuakhali, Kushtia, Jashore, Khulna, Feni, Noakhali, Chandpur, Chattogram, Brahmanbaria, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Cumilla, Sylhet, and Sunamganj.