Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said her government is focusing on developing skilled manpower to transform the country's demographic advantage into dividends.

She said this while delivering her inaugural speech at the first meeting of the Governing Board of the National Skill Development Authority (NSDA) at her office (PMO).

Each year in Bangladesh, up to 22 lakh young people arrive in the labour market, she mentioned stressing the need for providing them training to hone their skills so they turn into entrepreneurs rather than only looking for jobs.

The premier said that the government wants to accelerate country's progress towards achieving the Vision 2041 utilising the demographic dividend.

She said that the youth of the country must be developed as skilled manpower.

"As the world is evolving continuously in technology, our aim is to build the future generations as the skilled hands to cope with up the changes," she said.

She said Bangladesh having a huge number of young people has a demographic advantage over many countries of the world which are becoming lands of old people.

The PM said her government wants that the youth utilise their potentials in the world market as skilled manpower.

"We want that future generations of the country will be equipped with modern technology-based knowledge. We want to create skilled manpower keeping the fourth industrial revolution in our mind," she said.

Hasina put emphasis on training the manpower keeping in mind the demand in the world market.

She said that Bangladesh wants investment from home and abroad in which skilled manpower will play a key role.

She reiterated her call to reduce the country's dependency on the remittance from the expatriates for foreign exchange reserves.

"We have to increase and diversify our production. We have to expand our export basket," she said.

She asked the officials to search for new markets and find out their demands so Bangladesh can make export products accordingly.

"We have to find out our way for producing new items for international market," she said.

She also advised Bangladeshi businesspeople to look for opportunities to invest abroad.

"Not only we will invite investment, we also can invest in other countries. For all these we need skilled manpower," she said.

She urged the young generation to acquire skills in various fields - instead of just getting certificates - so they can start their own enterprises and create jobs for others.

She said that a good number of youths run after jobs after having certificates from their educational institutions.

"We want that the young generation will be made a skilled workforce," she said.

The prime Minister vowed to develop Bangladesh as a prosperous country through implementing the programmes undertaken by her government overcoming all the obstacles.

She mentioned that works on developing the national skill portal is progressing aimed at promoting countrywide skill development as well as for coordination of all the information on training about skills.

The PM said that training on quality innovative skill development has been ensured to develop the manpower of the country to meet the demands in domestic and international labour markets.

Referring to the activities of the NSDA, Hasina hoped that it will undertake necessary measures to improve living standard of the common people and work for establishing a prosperous Bangladesh.

She said the NSDA will also play its role to remove the existing negative attitude in the society about skill development training.

She said the 21st century is witnessing the creation of new professions on the basis of the demand of modern industries due to 4th industrial revolution.

She mentioned that new sectors like E-commerce, cloud computing, robotics, block chain, artificial intelligence, nano technology and internet of things are becoming important day by day.

PM Hasina said the government is currently facing various challenges like the impact of corona pandemic and Ukraine war and consequent sanctions from the USA and the EU on Russia.

She mentioned that her government has been implementing the 8th five-year plan to materialize the 2021-2041 perspective plan and achieve sustainable development goals like MDGs.

Education Minister Dipu Moni, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, State Minister for Labour Begum Monnujan Sufian, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim and FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin, among others, were present.

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