Worker welfare, upskilling among top agendas of new Bangladesh Ambassador to UAE
Abu Dhabi - He arrived in the UAE from Austria, where he was the ambassador and the permanent representative to the UN offices in Vienna.
Welfare measures for blue-collar workers, easily accessible embassy services and skill development project, are among the top of the agenda of new Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE, Mohammed Abu Zafar.
"We have over half-a-million Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE. We are facing a serious crisis from the pandemic and I want to ensure the welfare of all affected Bangladeshis, particularly those in the lowest segment. We need to stand by them and offer all kinds of services - consular and welfare - as close to them as possible, maybe right at their accommodations," Zafar told Khaleej Times about the planned reach-out programme.
He arrived in the UAE from Austria, where he was the ambassador and the permanent representative to the UN offices in Vienna. The 57-year-old career diplomat has served in Pakistan (1999-2004) and the US (2007-2009). He was also the Bangladeshi Consul-General in Dubai from 2009 to 2013.
Skill development project
Zafar, who will join the office in Abu Dhabi today, is planning a training and skill development project so that expatriates can aim for higher-level roles in their organisations.
"While I was in office as the Dubai Consul-General, I have seen certain group of educated Bangladeshis are doing menial jobs. If they are provided with skill upgradation, they can move to higher levels of jobs within their own companies or elsewhere. I wish to help such people upgrade their skills and I am looking forward to introducing this service."
There will be a greater network of communication in place to disseminate key policy information with the expatriates. "Expatriates must respect health guidelines laid by the local authorities, and follow law and order. From our part, we wish to provide health tips and updates on WHO regulations."
Weekly Biman flights till July 31
The ambassador said so far more than 10,000 stranded Bangladeshi nationals have been repatriated onboard 36 special flights from the UAE. From July 13 till 31, national carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines is having three regular flights each from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. "Those who wish to return back to Bangladesh can do so," he said.
Bolster bilateral relationship
Zafar hopes the bilateral relationship is further strengthened and raised to a strategic partnership in the future.
"We wish to further promote our cordial bilateral ties to newer levels like trade, investment, remittances and aid. In the near future, we will raise the level of our relationship to a strategic partnership based on the further strengthening of the mentioned pillars of economic diplomacy with the UAE. While Bangladesh is a bridge between south Asia and south-east Asia, the UAE is the gateway of the GCC and beyond. We both have strong potential and need to harness it. I will engage myself in this," he said.
Zafar will present his credentials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the coming days.