Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman has said there is no unemployment in Bangladesh. Rather there is a shortage of workers in the country's industrial sector.
"Many people keep telling me that there is unemployment in Bangladesh, but my experience is that there is no unemployment here," he said at the inauguration of a workshop titled "Promoting Occupational Safety and Health for Productivity" on Tuesday.
Elaborating on his comment, Salman F Rahman said the readymade garments sector is currently getting more and more orders, but it is not getting enough workers. There is also a huge shortage of workers in the pharmaceutical sector. Besides, the agriculture sector faces serious problems at the time of harvesting due to labour shortage.
He also said the shortage of skilled workers is much more severe than the shortage of the basic workforce.
He also discouraged the practice of obtaining university degrees without properly planning a career, and said, "There is no shortage of jobs for doctors, architects and chartered accountants."
Emphasising vocational education, he said, "If you get a proper vocational degree, it is sometimes much more valuable than a university degree."
At the programme, speakers emphasised occupational safety and health in the industrial sector.
Salman F Rahman praised the government's action plan to ensure safety measures in the industries, taken after the fire in Hashem Foods factory in Narayanganj last year, and stressed on realising it.
The industrialist said, "The government agencies have already inspected safety measures of 5,000 factories and we are now waiting for the reports."
Secretary for Labour and Employment Md Ehsan-E- Elahi said it was difficult for them to inspect a large number of factories in the country with small manpower.
"There are several lakhs of factories in the country but we have only 500-600 inspectors. We cannot inspect so many factories with so few people," he said.
However, the process to recruit more inspectors is going on, he added.
FBCCI acting president Mostafa Azad Chowdhury Babu, and ILO's chief technical advisor (RMG programme) George Faller, among others, were present at the programme organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and International Labour Organization (ILO).