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The Financial Express

Tk 2.0b fund in July for migrant workers

| Updated: June 07, 2020 20:29:33


Representational image Representational image

The government will launch a low-cost fund of Tk 2.0 billion in July for migrant workers who are returning home as part of the Covid-19 fallout, officials said.

The loan will be disbursed through Probashi Kallyan Bank (PKB) with a 4.0-per cent interest rate.

Workers will get Tk 100,000 to Tk 500,000 each based on their project proposals of income-generating activities.

Wage Earners' Welfare Board (WEWB) will supply this fund to the PKB.

The workers who returned home after March 01 will be eligible for the loans.

Besides, family members like wife, children and parents of those who died of coronavirus infection at their job destination countries will also be eligible for this.

But workers or their families back home must show documents on migration through legal channel or send remittance through official procedure to get loans.

An official said all processes will be completed by June and the loan scheme be launched in the first month of the new fiscal year, 2020-2021.

To this effect, the authorities concerned are working on it.

Meanwhile, migration rights organisations have welcomed this initiative, saying it is a timely decision.

But they said the rate of interest on the loan scheme is high as the money will be allocated from workers' welfare fund.

They also criticised the government's move to discourage undocumented workers to get the facility.

They said undocumented workers are more vulnerable as they are returning home empty-handed. So, it should not to discriminate the irregular workers.

Sumaiya Islam, executive director of Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK), said the interest rate should not be more than 2.0 per cent as the returnees are in a vulnerable condition.

It would be tough for them to carry 4.0-per cent interest. Besides, the money would be provided from the WEWB that was created with workers' money, she added.

Ms Islam also demanded brining both documented and undocumented returned workers under loan facilities.

"Workers become undocumented because of vested interest of manpower recruiters. A section of dishonest people from receiving and sending countries are involved in this unethical process," she said

It should not to discriminate the workers, the woman leader observed.

She also demanded prioritising women workers in this scheme as they are most vulnerable in this sector.

Income-generating training is crucial for workers before disbursement of the fund, Ms Islam said, adding that united effort should be made to make the programme successful.

The BNSK is always ready to work with the government to provide support like reintegration training to workers, she concluded.

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