Ariful Islam
In order to boost remittance inflow further, the government should focus on new destinations like European region for overseas job markets.
The top six countries—Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, Malaysia, Kuwait and Oman—now contribute almost 70 percent to the country’s remittance earnings, while only 30 percent comes from the rest of the world.
With the skilled workforce, the country can get hold of the European labour market very easily.
Currently, expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia top the list of remittance sender countries.
In the 2017-2018 fiscal, the remittance to the tune of $2591 million came from KSA, followed by $2428 million from UAE, $1997 million from USA, $1199 million from Malaysia, $1107 million from Kuwait and $1105 million from Oman.
Meanwhile, the remittance inflow maintained a steady rise in the FY18, contributing immensely to the country’s economic growth.
Government’s various initiatives, healthier Arab economy for oil price hike and stronger dollar rate at home have pushed remittance flow up significantly, said bankers and economists.
They said a large portion of remittance comes from only ten countries. If the government emphasises the new destinations and takes several effective steps accordingly, the remittance flow will increase significantly.
The appreciating US dollar against the local currency may have helped the country reap benefit on account of remittance in recent times, but it may not last long, said a senior banker.
The inflow of remittance recorded more than 17 percent rise to almost $15 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal from $12.77 billion in the 2016-2017 fiscal.
On the other hand, the remittance flow was $15.31 billion in fiscal 2014-15, $14.93 billion in fiscal 2015-16, $12.77 billion in fiscal 2016-17 and about $15 billion in fiscal 2017-18.
However, in the wake of the global recession, Bangladeshi migrant workers are at risk to lose their job, because they are usually the bottom rung of skilled labour, economists said.
As the World Bank has pointed out, Bangladeshi migrant workers, who speak little English, have poor basic formal education and few vocational industries-specific skills, often face severe job insecurities. The lack of knowledge of a foreign language, other than English, is another limiting factor. The workers are, therefore, at a disadvantage when it comes to new job opportunities, especially in the tech-driven world.
The situation is no better at home. The lack of skills, proper training and limited access to quality education are resulting in poor employment and lower wages in Bangladesh, where the demand for good jobs is overshadowed by supply of poorly trained workers.
In light of these developments, the Bangladesh government has established training centres across the country to educate and train workers in new and advanced skill-sets.

Md Adel Haque, former joint director of the central bank, told Bangladesh Post that the Middle Eastern nations have posted robust economic growth for rise in oil prices, which has helped increase the wages of expatriates. As a result, the remittance flow has increased in recent months.

He said the government should find out useful initiatives to increase remittance earnings from new destinations which will help protect the country remittance earnings from uncertain risk.

Economist and former BB governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said: “Now it’s time to train up manpower for jobs abroad. This initiative will help expatriates get higher salaries and boost inflow of remittance.”

Besides, the government should give more focus on different countries, which are contributing lower remittance flow to Bangladesh at present, by taking effective measures which will help to increase foreign reserves, he added.