To have foreign employees in a country is not a problem. But it’s a matter of concern when local experts do not get the proper opportunity for them or remain unemployed. To address this context in a systematic way Textile Engineering Division (TED), – Framework for the Future of Bangladesh’ organized a seminar on 18 September at Council Hall, IEB Headquarter, Ramna Dhaka.
Asadauzzaman Khan Kamal, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs, was present at the seminar as Chief Guest. Engr. Md. Abdus Sabur, Secretary of Science & Technology Affairs of Bangladesh Awami League & Ex- President, IEB was present as a Guest of Honor at the Seminar.
Engr. Md. Mozaffar Hossain, MP, President BBTEA; Prof. Engr. M. A Abul Kashem, Vice Chancellor, BUTEX; Engr. Md. Nurul Huda, President IEB; Nasrin Afroz, Executive Chairman (Secretary), National Skill Development Authority (NSDA) Prime Minister Office; Engr. Md. Nuruzzaman, Vice- President IEB; Engr. AKM Nurul Islam, Founder Chairman, TED, IEB; Engr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman (CIP), President, ITET & Engr. S.M Sirajul Islam, Ex-Chairman, TED IEB; Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan, Pro Vice Chancellor, BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology was present as Special Guest at the seminar.
The program was presided over by Engr. Md. Masudur Rahman, Chairman, TED, IEB while Engr. Syed Atiqur Rahman, Secretary, TED IEB moderated the seminar. Engr. Md. Shahadat Hossain (Shiblu) Eng, Honorary General Secretary, IEB shared the welcome speech with the audience.
Home Minister Asadauzzaman Khan Kamal said, “At this moment there is no lack of skilled and efficient textile engineers in Bangladesh. Besides, Butex and the other Universities are also trying their best to enrich their academic systems so that more efficient textile engineers can lead the textile industry in the future.”
He requested all the entrepreneurs to create a proper environment so that more textile engineers can join and carry on with their careers as there are some requirements in specific areas.
He also expressed his views that entrepreneurs should take decisions properly as we can avoid foreign professionals.
He also added, “I believe that the students or upcoming textile professionals have all the ability and capacity to take all the challenges and lead the textile industry to go forward. Proper training and R & D are the keys to move forward.”
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal promised that, “We will do whatever we can to support textile engineers. Six billion dollars will not go out of the country, only if the skilled manpower of our country is used.”
In the discussion, other speakers expressed their views saying that in the current context of the dollar crisis, the topics of the seminar are very much relevant. A huge amount of dollars are taken away every year by foreign professionals through the textile engineers of Bangladesh who have all the capacity, technical knowledge and efficiency to do all the jobs much better than the foreign employees. Bangladesh’s government should have a specific policy to monitor the whole process of foreign professionals’ employment opportunities in the Bangladesh Textile Industry.
Engr. Shafiqur Rahman, President, ITET and Managing Director of Hams Group thanked all the guests for joining the seminar and requested the honorable minister for a specific rule for foreign employee recruitment.
Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology (BUFT) was the keynote speaker of the seminar.
In his speech Engr. Ayub Nabi said, “We export 42 billion dollars each year and around 6 billion dollars are taken away each year by the foreign employees. Around 2,50,000 foreign employees are working in Bangladesh textile industry.”
According to the official statistics presented by the Home Minister of Bangladesh, more than 84,000 foreigners from 44 countries were employed in various jobs as of 2018. But these figures aren’t indicative of the total number of expatriates employed in Bangladesh as they don’t account for the significant number of foreigners who are employed without work permits.
He emphasized the importance of a complete database. A task force should be there to monitor the whole process. He also mentioned that some foreign employees are involved with unethical activities. They sometimes create a conflictual atmosphere in the industry. This atmosphere needs to be solved later by the local employees which is a barrier to creating a friendly environment.
He also highlighted the pay gap between expatriates and local managerial staff.
Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan also mentioned that during the corona pandemic, local textile engineers took the challenges to face the global business threat. He also highlighted that all foreign employees are in the tax network. There should be proper monitoring and reporting.
He also shared the impact of hiring expatriates on the firms and the country.
He expressed his views that industries should take proper initiative to provide training to upgrade the local engineers rather than investing dollars in foreign experts.
“I am not against the foreign employees but we don’t want them in the dominating role,” saying this Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan mentioned that entrepreneurs should have a proper mindset to encourage the local textile engineers to take the challenges and take the companies forward.
Engr. Md. Abdus Sabur, Secretary of Science & Technology Affairs of Bangladesh Awami League and Ex-President said, “More than 400 Ph.D. holders are there in the Textile Industry. But we are going for foreign professionals. Yes, taxation should be proper and monitoring should be there.” He also said, “There is no alternative to R& D and training to overcome these problems.”
Engr. Md. Mozaffar Hossain, MP emphasized more investment in the Textile Sector rather than Garments. He also encouraged textile engineers to join in knitting and weaving industry as the industry has lack skilled professionals.
In the end Engr. Md. Masudur Rahman said, “We need to summarize the reasons behind not only this problem but also all the other problems related to the textile engineers community of Bangladesh and take proper steps to overcome.”
In the end, crests were handed over to the guests.