October 1, 2020, 4:59 am


2020-07-08 20:04:38 BdST

Global Leaders’ DayPM for ‘vigorous worldwide response’ to offset COVID fallouts on migrants

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called for a “vigorous worldwide response” with the participation of all countries to combat the adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the migrants as she placed a three-point suggestion to this end.

“The virus does not discriminate but its adverse impacts severely discriminate against the vulnerable, especially the migrants and women workers,” she said this in a recorded video message played in a virtual global summit of ILO’s ‘Global Leaders’ Day’ that took place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sheikh Hasina added: “I must say that a vigorous, well-coordinated and world-wide response with the participation of all countries, international organizations, civil society organizations and private sector is needed now.”

The three point- suggestion placed by the premier at the event titled “ILO’s ‘Global Leaders’ Day” are:

Firstly: Jobs of migrant workers at the overseas markets must be retained during this crisis;

Secondly: In case of lay-off, compensation and other dismissal benefits must be paid in full along with ensuring their safety and health benefits; and

Thirdly: After the pandemic, these workers would have to be recruited for reactivating the economy.

Sharing Bangladesh’s experiences and measures on how the country is dealing with the crisis, the premier said Bangladesh deeply appreciates ILO’s all endeavours.

“I’m happy to join this event on ILO’s ‘Global Leaders’ Day’ during the global COVID-19 pandemic that has affected our nations, especially our workers the most,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said this global calamity has now threatened the very base of globalization and connectivity that all of us have carefully built over the years.

“This is no longer just a health problem but becomes a full-fledged global economic and social crisis,” the premier said.

Like many other crises, she said, the LDCs and developing countries are facing the main burden although the crisis did not start with them.

“During this pandemic, our domestic and external supply chains were severely disrupted. We lost export orders of billions of dollars, many of our industries were closed and millions of workers lost their jobs,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s small industries lost most of its resources and markets, and above all, its agriculture suffered huge loss due to supply chain disruption.

“On the back of it, we are hosting 1.1 million forcibly evicted Rohingyas from Myanmar,” she said.

The prime minister said when the crisis of COVID-19 began to unfold, the government immediately announced a 12.1-billion-dollar stimulus package for various sectors of the country’s economy as well as support to different segments of the society.

“This support package is equivalent to 3.7 % of our GDP. To support our workers in export industries, we have given about 1 billion dollar for paying wages of the workers,” she said.

The premier said her government hiked wages of the garments workers by almost 500 percent and also workers of other sectors by on an average 360 percent since it assumed office in 2009.

“We provided cash and other incentives directly to more than 50 million people who lost their daily income during this pandemic,” she said.

Mentioning the huge loss of jobs of Bangladeshi migrant workers and the resulting shortfall in remittance, Sheikh Hasina said it is a great concern for us as remittance is a key component to achieve the SDGs.

“Currently, repatriation of these jobless migrant workers has proved to be a huge challenge. The World Bank predicted that we will lose more than 20% of our earnings from remittance,” the prime minister said.

“Under these circumstances, we may remember the Centenary Declaration of ILO where all of us recognized to transform our world through technological innovation, demographic shifts, climate change and globalization,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said UN and international organizations will be at the centre of all recovery measures to be supported by G-7, G-20, OECD and international financial institutions.

“With everything happening all around us, the promises of decent jobs for all seem hard to realise individually, but I am convinced that together, we can do it,” she said.

ILO Director General Guy Ryder inaugurated the event, while UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres, World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, heads of state and government of different countries including Switzerland, South Korea, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland, Fiji, Thailand, Nepal, Samoa, Pakistan, Myanmar and the DG of WTO and managing director of IMF also joined the event, among others.

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