Scholars Bangladesh Foundation and Center for NRB Foundation recently celebrated their 12th Anniversary. In line with that, they also celebrated 30 December 2017 as the NRB Day. Many distinguished guests at the event have assured that from next year this day will be declared to be an official day to recognize the immense contribution of millions of our NRBs in various countries. This announcement included the promises of many other beneficial developments for the NRBs by the government to make sure their contribution is bigger, better and smoother was emphasized at the program at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) on 30 December 2017.
The foundation awarded 17 individuals as “Scholar of the Year” in 9 categories for excellent contribution in the sectors of Mainstream Politics, Civil Service, Education & Research, Health & Medicine, Art Culture & Sports, Science Technology & Innovations, Outstanding Contribution in Business and Social Contribution in Bangladesh.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith enlightened the guests about the history of Bangladeshi people traveling abroad. According to him, Bangladeshis started to travel independently around the globe in 1802, 20 years before Raja Ram Mohan Rai made his voyage. This information, however, concerns only the most mentionable travelers in the history. He also expressed his disappointment in the fact that received remittance is much less than what it should be according to the number of NRBs worldwide. He blames various socio-economic factors for the situation. He stated that Bangladesh being on a top spot on the list of corrupt countries makes a very negative impact on the country’s profile which discourages investment. The minister also said that the term “Global Citizen” being too popular these days may be another reason behind the low remittance income of the country. However, he believes that making more online transactions and online dealings will make it much safer and less corrupted.
Chairman of the NRB Foundation Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen highlighted the four significant ways through which NRBs can make the most contribution to the development of our country- remittance, philanthropy, investment and sharing and transferring of knowledge and skill. However, he made an effort to highlight the various troubles faced by NRBs while investing in our economy. For example, following the registration for investment, the local procedure isn’t smooth or helpful enough which is causing way less number of actual investment than compared to investment registration by the NRBs. That is why he suggested building a particular “cell” in each region where the NRBs of a particular region will be able to discuss strategies and report the problem and seek help regarding any issues for making an investment or other contribution to the country’s economic and social development. He also acknowledged the contribution of NRBs during our Freedom Fight in 1971 which played a vital role in developing a worldwide public opinion in favor of Bangladesh and made sure the safe return of Bangabandhu to his homeland. Dr. Momen said that a proposal has been presented to the Prime Minister to celebrate 30-31 December as official “NRB Day” every year and expects to get approval soon.
Abul Kalam Azad said that the government had set SDG goals for 2100 of which 2021 is marked as the time of reaching the milestone of middle to an upper-middle income economy. 2030 will be recognizing the motto of “no one leaves behind,” and 2041 the country is expected to be recognized as a developed country. On the other hand, 2071 is already a special year as it marks the 100th anniversary of the free country of Bangladesh. Azad added, “None of these goals will be achieved without 100% contribution of the 10 million NRBs living and performing around the globe.” He also stated the unfortunate fact that the government does not receive remittance as it is supposed to be because a major portion of the remittance is entering the country through illegal ways. Therefore, he believes it’s an immediate requirement to build a platform which will ensure legal entry of all the remittance to ensure maximum benefit of the country. He also emphasized on the proper execution, operation and maintenance of this platform in the desired manner. Azad also pointed out that the government has already announced that they will create 100 economic zones. Moreover, he mentioned that a new scheme of sending only “skilled manpower” had been planned by the finance ministry to maximize remittance.
“Scholars Bangladesh was founded with the motto of uniting NRBs and the People of Bangladesh in social, political, economic and educational ways to make constant prosperity of the country,” said M. E. Chowdhury Shameem, Founder President of the foundation. He added that it came about with many years of hard work, “Based on research of about a decade we have tried to observe how the non-resident citizens of countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore have contributed to the development of the concerned country. What role the concerned government played to make their efforts successful.” With those insights in mind, Scholars Bangladesh and the Center for NRB Foundation are working to make similar development to Bangladesh’s economy.