Libya to recruit sizeable workforce from B'desh

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Dhaka, Oct 31 (UNI) Bangladesh and Libya today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to recruit a large number of Bangladeshi workers as Tripoli launched a 130 billion dollar development programme that will require over one million foreign workers.

Bangladesh Foreign Advisor Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury and Libyan Labour Minister Maa'touq Mohammed Maa'touq signed the MoU after an hour-long official talks.

Mr Iftekhar and Maa'toug termed the signing of the MoU a milestone in the development of bilateral relations between the two Muslim countries.

Under the five-year development programme that started this year, Libya will construct 300,000 housing units, 27 university complexes, over 10,000 km roads and maintenance of 24,000 kms roads.

''We'll recruit workers not only from Bangladesh but naturally we prefer Bangladeshis as we have experience in skilled and semi-skilled workers from Bangladesh in the past,'' Maa'toug told reporters at the post-talks joint press briefing.

He said, ''we are here to expand and broaden the presence of Bangladeshis in Libya.'' Presently, some 25,000 Bangladeshis are employed in oil-rich Libya in northern Africa.

Although the Libyan Minister did not give the exact number of Bangladeshi workers they will recruit but said, last month they issued 6,000 visas for the Bangladeshi labourers. ''Now you can imagine the possible number of workers to be recruited from here,'' he said.

Mr Iftekhar said they talked about the possibility of refining Libyan crude oil in Bangladesh refineries and exporting the refined oil to neighbouring countries.

Maa'toug visited some pharmaceutical factories here as Bangladesh has potential to export pharmaceutical products to Libya.

Besides, the two sides also discussed cooperation in higher education as Libya is also interested in taking professors, doctors and other skilled manpower from the country.

UNI XC ARB BD1457

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