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Making Bangla UN’s official language requires Tk 800cr annually

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said that Bangladesh would renew its efforts for making Bangla one of the official languages of the United Nations when the global body will go through a greater reform.

He said there is huge involvement of funds in the process, and it needs to think whether spending such a huge amount of money every year will be logical at this moment though they have the love, respect and desire for Bangla to become UN’s official language.

“We thought about it and worked on it. We estimated around five to six years ago that it will require Tk 800 crore annually,” Shahriar told reporters after attending a programme at Foreign Service Academy marking the International Mother Language Day.

He hoped that Bangladesh will have that capacity but at this moment, opinions might not be there in favour of such a plan.

The United Nations has six official languages — Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Earlier in February 2021, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said there is no opposition from the member countries to Bangla as another official language of the United Nations, but the UN has said it does not have money to fund it.

The UN authorities have said they would need $600 million per year for making a new official language functional in the UN system, he said.

Bangla should be named an official United Nations language to reflect the vast number of its speakers and its heritage in literature and history, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the UN General Assembly in 2010.

“Since Bangla [also known as Bengali] is spoken by nearly 300 million people worldwide, has a rich history in literature, history and in other fields. Our Parliament adopted a resolution requesting the UN to declare Bangla as one of its official languages,” she said. “I fervently appeal to you all for acceptance of our very legitimate request.”