Manpower exporters on Wednesday called for government policy support against a 'syndicate' that wants to control the sector.
They alleged the so-called syndicate is behind the rise in plane ticket prices—from an average of Tk50,000 to more than Tk1,00,000— from Bangladesh to the Middle East.
The allegations came at the first meeting of the FBCCI's (Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries) Standing Committee on Manpower and Skill Development on Wednesday, reads a press statement.
According to speakers at the meeting, the alleged group now wants to control the process of sending workers to Malaysia as that country recently agreed to reopen their doors once again for Bangladeshi workers after a three-year halt.
"In the past, the entire process of sending manpower to Malaysia was in the hands of only 10 companies. Their corruption and irregularities made the Malaysian government stop taking workers from Bangladesh at one stage," said Mohammed Faruque, chairman of FBCCI's standing committee on manpower.
"Now the same clique is manoeuvring to send migrant workers to the country through 25 companies," he alleged.
Citing the examples of Nepal, India, and Pakistan, speakers at the meeting said all these countries are exporting manpower to Malaysia through more than 1,500 recruiting agents.
Therefore, there is no reason to limit the number of agents in Bangladesh, they said.
The manpower exporters demanded the inclusion of a nominated member of the FBCCI in the meeting of the Malaysia-Bangladesh Joint Working Committee to break up the syndicate in this sector.
They also discussed amendments to the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, and raising the incentive rate on remittances from 2% to 3%.
The FBCCI's Standing Committee on Manpower and Skill Development has decided to inform the concerned ministries and the Prime Minister's Office, about the existing problems in the manpower export sector through the FBCCI.
Meanwhile, FBCCI Vice-President and Director-in-charge of the Manpower Standing Committee, Md Habib Ullah Dawn, recommended bringing the manpower sector within the purview of government incentives to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the manpower sector is contributing 12% to the country's GDP.
FBCCI Director Amzad Hussain and Secretary-General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were also present at the meeting among others.