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Take prompt actions to face fast-changing labour markets, Economists tell SANEM conference

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Despite Bangladesh's informal sector creating a significant portion of the employment, a very limited effort has been made to ensure the workers' health and safety.

Besides, a lack of proper implementation of the existing policy has aggravated the condition of workers in the informal sector.

This was observed at a session on Labour Market on the first day of a two-day 6th SANEM Annual Economists Conference (SAEC), organised by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) at the city's BRAC Centre Inn on Saturday.

Executive Director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), Bangladesh Dr Mustafa K. Mujeri chaired the session, while Professor of Economics at Rajshahi University Farid Uddin Khan was present as the discussant.

Dr Mujeri said different types of changes are taking place across the world as also the labour markets, requiring novel efforts to address the emerging issues.

The south Asian economies should be more prompt to address the changes as there is prevalence of labour-intensive industries here, he opined.

He also said the papers presented at the session brought some important issues into the light.

Senior Research Associate at the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) Raied Arman presented a paper titled 'Online Freelancing and Women's Economic Empowerment: Evi-dence from a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) in Bangladesh'.

Research Associate at SANEM Afia Mubasshira Tiasha presented another paper on "Occupational Health in the Context of High Labour Market Informality in Bangladesh: Evidence from Nationwide Labour Force Survey".

According to it, Bangladesh enacted the "National Occupational Health and Safety Policy" in 2013 which is applicable to all industries in both formal and informal sectors of the country, but the lack of proper implementation of the policy is leading to an aggravated condition of workers in the informal sector.

In the context of high labour market informality in Bangladesh, the informal sector needed specific focus in this policy as the workers in this sector are more prone to occupational injury and illness, it said.

Assistant Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Lucknow, India Nagendra Kumar Maurya and Research Associate at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, India Sabarni Chowdhury presented two other papers at the session.

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