DHAKA, Feb 25, 2020 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the international community including Germany to mount more pressure on Myanmar government to take back its Rohingya nationals from Bangladesh.
“Rohingyas are a huge burden for us and they’re creating social problems …So, Myanmar should take back its nationals from Bangladesh immediately,” she said.
In this connection, the prime minister requested particularly Germany to play role further in repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas.
The prime minister made the remarks when visiting German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Gerd Muller paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here this evening.
After the meeting, PM’s Deputy Press Secretary Hasan Zahid Tusher briefed reporters.
The prime minister said the exodus of over 1.1 million Rohingyas has created a big problem for the people of Cox’s Bazar as they outnumbered the local people.
She said many are taking scopes to involve them (Rohingyas) in terrorism and human trafficking.
Sheikh Hasina said apart from bilateral discussion Bangladesh has signed an agreement with Myanmar so that they take back their nationals from Bangladesh voluntarily.
“After that Myanmar is not taking back the Rohingyas and they’re not following the deal,” she said.
The prime minister said there is a huge number of young Rohingya people who have lost their parents. “So it’s quite natural for them to be involved in terrorism and fell into the trap of human trafficking,” she said.
“So considering their security and our security we’re erecting fence around the Rohingya camps,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is extending all kinds of assistance to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.
The prime minister said identity cards have already been provided to the Rohingyas for the security of the area.
The German minister said his country will consider how they could be involved more and help further Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.
Dr Muller informed the prime minister that he will visit the Rohingya camps tomorrow. “I think that the stance of the Myanmar government on the issue may be changed to a some extent after their election,” she said.
The PM’s deputy press secretary said the prime minister and the German minister discussed various issues of bilateral interests including German investment, readymade garment and energy sectors development in Bangladesh and setting up water treatment plant and climate change issue.
While the German minister talked about his country’s investment in Bangladesh, the prime minister said her government is setting up 100 special economic zones across the country.
“If Germany wants, they could be given exclusive economic zone for their investment,” she said, urging the German investors to make more investment in Bangladesh.
When Dr Muller wanted to know from the prime minister about the development of Bangladesh’s garment industry, she said all the garment factories are following the standard process.
Sheikh Hasina said her government increased the wages of garment workers by 221 percent as well as ensured their other facilities by convincing the owners of the industry.
“The minimum wages of garment workers were only Taka 1600 when we assumed office in 2009, but we increased it to Taka 8,300,” the premier said.
She said the government is also providing hostel and training facilities to the garment workers.
In this connection, the premier urged the buyers to increase the RMG products of Bangladesh. “Though we have enhanced the wages of the garment workers significantly, the prices of our RMG products declined in many cases,” she said.
“As buyers you’ll have to think about how much you pay,” she said.
The prime minister said her government, considering the country’s socioeconomic perspective, has given importance to technical and vocational education to create more job opportunities for the people.
“We’re setting up vocational and technical educational institutions in all upazilas of the country so that students by staying in remote areas could get this education,” she said.
The German minister said they have taken initiatives to set up a water treatment plant on the Meghna river to supply pure water among the people of southeast Dhaka at a cost of 500 million dollars.
He sought the support of the prime minister to expedite the process.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina assured the German minister of looking into the matter so that the plant is set up at the quickest possible time.
The prime minister urged the German chancellor to visit Bangladesh marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “We’ve already invited her to visit Bangladesh on the occasion,” she said.
In this connection, the German minister mentioned that the Chancellor will go on retirement in November next.
Sheikh Hasina said before her retirement, she must visit Bangladesh to attend the Mujib Borsho programmes and see Rohingya issues here.
In this regard, the prime minister requested the German minister to look into the matter with utmost sincerity. She also urged the German ambassador in Dhaka to make effective measures to this end.
Sheikh Hasina apprised the German minister of her government steps for women empowerment and development.
The prime minister pointed out the economic cooperation with Germany in different sectors including passport, e-passport and other matters.
On the issue of power sector development, the prime minister said: “We’ve set up 5.5 million solar panels in remote areas of the country to ensure electricity facilities for the remote people.”
Dr Muller highly praised the leadership of the prime minister, saying that: “You’re so popular in your country like your father.”
At the outset of the meeting, the German minister extended his heartfelt congratulations to Sheikh Hasina on her reelection as the prime minister for the fourth time through landslide victory in her party.
He also greeted the prime minister and the people of Bangladesh on the occasion of the birth centenary of great leader Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Director General of Head of Middle East, Asia, South-East and East Europe, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany Dr Claudia Warning and German Ambassador in Dhaka Peter Fahrenholtz were present on the occasion, among others.