2019-10-17 15:16:56 BdST

BIDA to create database on foreign nationals


The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is going to create a database on foreign nationals working in the country, it's executive chairman Sirajul Islam said on Wednesday.

"We are trying to create a database on foreign nationals working here. This will be done as part of an initiative to promote local employment," Mr. Islam said while speaking to local and foreign investors.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) organised the meeting at a city hotel.

The BIDA does not have any data on the total number of foreign nationals working in Bangladesh, the BIDA chief said.

"All the foreign nationals working here do not come through BIDA," he said.

There are many big government projects and foreign nationals work under those projects and they come directly through the project authorities, he added.

He did not elaborate on whether all foreign nationals would be included in the database.

He said foreign investors are welcome because Bangladesh needs their capital, technology and knowledge for the creation of jobs for the locals.

Mr. Islam alleged some of the local and foreign firms in the country employed foreign nationals unnecessarily, though these positions could easily be fulfilled by the locals.

"The private sector should think of employing the local workforce in those sectors," he said.

"If any foreign national works here for more than 15 years, it means the transfer of knowledge and expertise does not take place," he said. In any special case, there might be special permission for any certain position, he added.

The BIDA Executive Chairman said Bangladesh needed to improve human capital to attain its development goals.

He said Bangladesh is losing around $8.0 billion as the private sector pays for the foreign workforce here.

"We need to change the situation.. we need to improve our human resources," he said.

The BIDA has done a lot to improve the ease of business in the country. "Bangladesh has ranked 176th of 189 countries in the World Bank's ease of doing business index, this doesn't sound comfortable," he said.

"This situation must change, this situation must improve," he said.

Speaking at the programme, AmCham President Nurul Islam said, private investment in the country remained sluggish despite the high growth and potential of the country.

"The ranking in the ease of business index should come below 100 and the BIDA needs to put serious efforts to achieve that," he said.

He also mentioned the issue of SANOFI, a global healthcare leader exiting Bangladesh. He said this is not a good sign.

"Before SANOFI, GSK also left Bangladesh," he added.

Mr. Islam said the investment environment in the country improved a lot at the policy level, but at the administrative level, enough support was not visible.

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