NRB Engagement in National Development: Strategies and Way Forward

Dec 13, 2017

Knowledge for Development Management (K4DM) Project under United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in association with Economic Relations Division (ERD), Ministry of Finance organized an international seminar on ‘NRB Engagement in National Development: Strategies and Way Forward’ on 13 December 2017 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).

Speakers at the conference stressed the need for maximum utilisation of resources and expertise of Non -Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) for national development.

Around 10 million Bangladesh citizens are living 162 countries of the world, among them 2.4 million Bangladeshi are living abroad permanently either as citizens of those countries or with other valid documents, who are called as Non-Resident Bangladeshis popularly known as NRBs.

In the conference NRBs came from Canada, UK, USA, Australia and other countries expressed their interests to invest in the country’s industrial sector especially in ICT. They also wished to be partners in knowledge management.

 The government policymakers assured NRBs of all sorts of cooperation for their engagement in national development.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith inaugurated the seminar as the chief guest while Dr. Nomita Halder, secretary- in- charge of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Sudipto Mukerjee, UNDP country director spoke as the special guests.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam presided over the session which was also addressed by Jalal Ahmed, additional secretary of the ERD.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister recalled NRBs’ contributing to Bangladesh economy  by earning foreign currencies. “We must play facilitating role for NRB engagement in national development”, said the minister also underscored the need for voting rights of NRBs in the country.”

Nomita Halder said that a new wing on diaspora welfare will be established in the ministry soon.  “We are conducting market research for identifying new overseas employment “she added also stressed the need for making a database of NRBs.

Sudipto Mukerjee informed that UNDP promotes diaspora engagement in development of their country of origin.

He mentioned the potentiality of NRBs as a resource which can be utilised through proper planning and institutional mechanism.  

Dr Mobasser Monem, a professor of Dhaka University and a consultant of K4DM Project of UNDP, mentioned three major areas of challenges for NRB engagement in national development. These include, among others, policy level challenges and intuitional level challenges. He pointed out inadequate inter-ministerial coordination for addressing NRB interest.  The NRBs demanded IT based one stop services, NRB security in Bangladesh, transparency in expenditure of NRB contribution, utility service, institutional mechanism for utilising philanthropy and expert affiliation.

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