Vol. 4 Num 61 Sat. July 26, 2003  

BIDS study says
Workers' efficiency must to compete in global labour market

Bangladeshi labourers must develop their skills to compete in global market, a research paper revealed.

The study said success in the globalised economy largely depends on the characteristics of the labourers and on how a country's labour market operates.

Mustafa K Mujeri, project leader of Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic and Adjustment Policies in Bangladesh (MIMAP- Bangladesh), a project of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), conducted the research.

The study paper titled 'Globalisation -- Poverty Interactions in Bangladesh' was presented at a BIDS workshop held on Tuesday at the LGED Bhaban in Dhaka.

Suggesting improvement of workers' efficiency, the report said only skilled people would benefit from the trade-liberalised economy. It pointed out that competent workers always earn more than the unskilled ones.

A skilled worker in the manufacturing and construction sector receives 2.35 and 3.52 times higher daily-wage, compared to an unskilled agricultural worker in Bangladesh, the study said.

However, the study reveals the educational profile of Bangladeshi workers has improved slightly with the increase in the access to educational institutions.

"The number of uneducated labourers came down to 49 per cent in 2000 from 58 per cent in 1991," the report said.

It also said the unemployment rate increased to 3.7 per cent in 2000 from 1.9 per cent in 1991, although the labour force rose to 60.3 million from 51.2 million during the nine-year period.

Apart from the labour market the study emphasised on effective means of trade liberalisation, saying that inappropriate liberalisation may create financial instability, external debt and recession.

It also said sound policies are required in few areas like infrastructure, market facilitation and access and competitiveness to meet the challenges of the post-MFA (multi-fibre arrangement) era.

Effective measures are needed to increase the ability of the poor people to cope with the risks in developing small and medium enterprises and agro-based industries, the study said.