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Professor Mustafizur Rahman on human resource development

If the growing populace is to be transformed into human resources, firstly they must be moulded as skilled and trained manpower. This is an area in which we have failed

Published in Daily New Nation on Tuesday, 27 October 2015.

Unemployment BD`s major challenge

Staff Reporter

Unemployment and unskilled population will become a great challenge for Bangladesh. The Diagnostic Trade Integration Study report released by the World Bank last week said. It highlighted the crisis and the potential of business and commerce in the country.

The report said, the biggest challenge Bangladesh faces at the moment is increasing unemployment. If the population growth rate remains as it is at present, in the matter of one decade, two million people will enter the job market. Of the 103 million able persons in the country, only 58.1 million are employed.

“The absence of quality education and a skilled labour force are the main causes of youth unemployment in Bangladesh,” World Bank Lead Economist Zahid Hussain on Sunday told The New Nation.

The World Bank report found that more than 75 percent of business leaders claimed that a scarcity of skilled young workers was a challenge to hiring youth.

Because investment to generate employment is not in line with demand, he said, the country currently must hire skilled workers from India, Sri Lanka and Thailand because of shortage of skilled labour.

If the growing populace is to be transformed into human resources, firstly they must be moulded as skilled and trained manpower. This is an area in which we have failed, said Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

Secondly, there must be a rapid expansion in business and industry of this manpower is to be utilized. It is unfortunate that investment has come to a standstill, despite strong foreign exchange reserves and money idling in the banks, he said.

The World Bank has rightly recommended a search for new markets by creating a business infrastructure accordingly, diversifying export products, enhancing the labour standards, and creating an environment conducive to business and investment, he added.

Political unrest is an obstacle. In the recent past, not a single year has passed without political unrest. This is a disincentive to investors. Secondly, even though the government may have plans to attract investment, these are being implemented at a snail’s pace, Professor Mustafiz said.

The report points out that China’s upgrading to highly developed technology has opened the doors of opportunity further for Bangladesh’s readymade garment export.

If Bangladesh can even capture 20 percent of the market, these will double its annual exports to USD 29 billion. This calls for speedy development of communications and energy infrastructure. An environment of confidence must also be put in place, which cannot materialize with long-term political instability.

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