Remittance-reliant Bangladesh has launched a new program for up-skilling the country’s millions of young workforce, especially women, to enhance job opportunities, expand economic base and boost income.
Officials say up-skilling training for Bangladeshi migrant workers overseas, especially for managerial skills, is an important goal of the expanded Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP). More than 240,000 people, 30% women, will be trained by 2021 under the program, they said.
In this connection, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladeshi have signed an agreement.
The assistance is the second tranche of the $350 million multitranche financing facility (MFF) approved by ADB in 2014 for the SEIP, officials say. They said the remaining amount from the ADB assistance is expected to be utilized before the MFF period ends in 2024.
Kazi Shofiqul Azam, secretary of Bangladeshi Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director, Bangladesh Resident Mission, signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively, at a ceremony in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“The program underpins the country’s path toward higher income level with diversified and expanded economic base, while providing good jobs to people, especially women,” said Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi.
“The program has already delivered significant benefits. ADB will continue supporting this strategically important program of the government in the coming years.”
The Manila-based lender said the second tranche of the SEIP will support expansion of the training program to 9 priority industries, bringing in 3 additional industry associations (Bangladesh Agro-processors’ Association, Industry Skills Council for Hospitality and Tourism, and Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry), and 15 training providers.
The SEIP Tranche 2 program is estimated to cost a total of $133 million, it said.
In addition to the $100 million ADB assistance, the program is complemented by $25 million from the Government of Bangladesh, $4.5 million from the Government of Switzerland, and $3.5 million from the private sector.
Selim Reza, director general of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), had earlier said the government expects some 2 million overseas jobs for the country’s skilled and semi-skilled workforce in the next five years.
From nearly some 9 million Bangladeshis who are now living and working in about 100 foreign countries Bangladesh received in 2015-16 fiscal year (July 2015-June 2016) nearly $15 billion.