Welcoming President of Maldives to Bangladesh on 17th March!
Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed, Advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court and Editor in Charge of Daily Our Time
The whole nation is super excited today! 17th March is the birthday of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. March is a very special month for our country as our Independence journey officially began in this month in the year 1971. The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state would not have been possible, at least in 1971, without having Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as our leader. That is why, he has become an inseparable part of our history. The whole nation was guided by strong, dedicated and visionary leadership of Bangabandhu to fight for the liberation of our country. Bangladesh is about to mark its 50 years of independence. The entire country is all set to wear a festive look ahead of a 10-day special programme starting from today to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh believes in developing stronger relations with the world by celebrating the Golden Jubilee of independence in the presence of global leaders and with this aim all the program is set to commence today at Parade Ground. Today’s main attraction- President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is arriving today for a two-day visit to attend the celebrations in Dhaka. Abdul Hamid, the president of Bangladesh announced that the people of Bangladesh are eagerly waiting to receive Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Independence and Mujib Year. Maldives is a tested friend of Bangladesh. In regional and international forums, Bangladesh and the Maldives have always assisted each other on a variety of topics. As reported in Media, Bangladesh and Maldives will create two regular consultation processes to improve trade and business relations between the two South Asian nations. Numerous Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed between the two countries during the visit with an aim to strengthen bilateral relations in many fields, including commerce, investment, education, and culture. The two processes would include a joint commission for comprehensive cooperation led by the respective foreign ministers and annual foreign office consultations led by the respective foreign secretaries. Both the countries also agreed to establish a direct shipping line through a shipping agreement to further increase bilateral trade. The president of Maldives proposed signing a MoU to resolve the challenges of migrant workers between the two countries. On this particular matter, Bangladesh agreed to hold internal stakeholder consultations.
According to various media reports, four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will be signed as well as the inauguration of some joint projects will be announced during Maldives President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to Dhaka in March to participate in the grand celebrations of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.
Issues to be discussed to enhance Bangladesh-Maldives ties
Bangladesh has a lot of skilled manpower. Bangladesh is ready to send more skilled manpower to the Maldives.More than 85,000 Bangladeshi expatriates are making a substantial contribution to the socio-economic development of the two countries.
• Provide Higher education to Students Many Maldivian students are studying in Bangladesh for higher education in various fields including medicine and engineering. The president of Bangladesh Mr. Abdul Hamid believes that there is an opportunity to provide higher education to more Maldivian students in Bangladesh.
• Export products
In Bangladesh, various products of international standard are produced such as jute and jute products, leather and leather products, medicine, readymade garments, etc. Bangladesh can export these products, especially medicines to the Maldives. Bangladesh wholeheartedly appreciates the government of the Maldives for allowing duty-free access to all Bangladeshi export products including medicine by the end of the current year.
• Direct Shipping
The Maldives is very keen to introduce a direct shipping link between Chittagong and Male to enhance trade relations between the two countries.Maldives would like to start direct shipping connectivity between Chittagong Port and Hithadhoo Port within weeks.
• Import business
Maldives wants to import food items, energy, and construction materials from Bangladesh, due to its dependence on imports.
• Direct Air link
About air linkage, the Maldives government is planning to introduce a direct air link between Bangladesh and the Maldives under public or private initiatives.
• Expatriates from Bangladesh
At present, six thousand Bangladeshi workers are working to contribute to the economy of the Maldives.
The Maldives government is looking forward to hiring more manpower from Bangladesh to develop the infrastructure and hospital sectors of Maldives. Recently, Bangladesh also thanked the Maldives for its decision to vaccinate all expatriates free of cost.
• Migrant welfare
The government of Bangladesh is very grateful to the Maldives for hiring many people from Bangladesh and for the registration of 12,000 out of 17,000 Bangladeshi workers.
Around 90,000 Bangladeshi migrants reside in the Maldives, a greater portion of who are undocumented, while there are also a good number of Maldivian students in Bangladesh.
In response to the Bangladeshi minister’s request to regularise the remaining undocumented Bangladeshi expatriates at an accelerated pace, the Maldivian minister said the goal of the regularisation program that began in 2019 is to legalize and provide jobs to those who wish to stay in the Maldives while assisting those who wish to return to home voluntarily. The undocumented workers are vulnerable to the violation of their rights and requested Bangladesh to facilitate the repatriation of Bangladeshis who wish to return. It’s possible that a ban on hiring new unskilled employees would remain in effect before current undocumented expatriates have been regularized. The Maldives, on the other hand, will continue to accept professional Bangladeshi workers.
Bangladesh suggested the recruitment of Bangladeshis through agencies nominated by the government and endorsed by the Bangladesh High Commission in Male and a positive response came from the side of the Maldives regarding this.
• Combating Covid- 19 pandemic together
The president of the Maldives thanked the government of Bangladesh for the support provided to the Maldives amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including the deployment of a medical team from Bangladesh to help the Maldives in its efforts to combat the crisis.
Maldives’ decision to vaccinate all expatriates free of cost is appreciated.
• Addressing trade issues more efficiently
To hold commerce secretary-level meetings regularly between Bangladesh and Maldives to address trade issues in detail, comprising representatives from various line ministries.
• Signing preferential trade agreement
Bangladesh is interested to sign a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the Maldives within the purview of WTO provisions, to harness the trade potential.
We are hoping that the existing relations between the two countries would reach new heights with this visit of the Maldivian president to Bangladesh on the occasion of Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee of Independence and Mujib Year celebrations. As a nation, we care about the relationship with our neighbors and the same shall be reflected in our relationship with Maldives.