a2i to launch digital centres in 5 more countries

DHAKA, Aug 7, 2018 : After the success in Saudi Arabia with
‘Expatriate Digital Centres’ (EDCs), authorities of Access to Information (a2i) project
decided to launch such centres in five more countries for providing quick
services to Bangladeshi expatriates.

“The a2i has selected five countries – Malaysia, United Arab Emirates
(UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar – for providing digital service among
Bangladeshi expatriates so that they can get information along with necessary
documents,” Shahida Sultana, deputy secretary (innovation specialist to a2i) told today.

With the five new Expatriate Digital Centres, the number of total
centres will be stood at 11 as the a2i earlier has set six Expatriate Digital
Centres (EDCs) at Dammam, Batha, Riyadh, Madinah and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia,
Sultana said.

She said the a2i, which was run under the Prime Minister’s Office
earlier, now under the ICT division has taken plans to introduce these
digital centres abroad where Bangladeshi nationals are living aimed at
providing them with quick and hassle-free service.

“Initially, nine types of service are being provided from the centres
including application for passport, renewal of passport, application for
travel permit, allegation, attestation, letter of introduction, application
for sending body home and approval for burial of body in local
graveyard,” she said.

A total of 7,334 different kinds of services have so far been provided
to service seekers from EDCs of Saudi Arabia till July 26, 2018, Sultana said
citing to a2i data.

“A total of 5,826 Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) have been reissued
from the EDC in Riyadh while Jeddah EDC reissued 1,365 MRPs,” she said,
adding a total of 103 online registrations for MRPs and 10 applications for
travel permission were received at the centres.

After the establishment, the EDCs issued 17 passports, six attestation
certificates along with travel permission and all service seekers got their
necessary documents hassle free from digital centres.

Apart from this, Embassies and Consulates organise different types of
functions regarding digital service and facilities. Bureau of Manpower
Employment and Training (BMET) and the Wage Earners Welfare Board also
created awareness among common people about the digital centres.

The a2i official said every service recipient take different types of
services from their nearby EDC at their convenient time. As a result, service
recipient could minimize their expenditure alongside travel cost with the set
up of these centres.

The a2i has already developed an online system for providing services to
expatriates Bangladeshi.