$20b remittance in FY20

Experts expect that the country’s remittance inflow will reach $20 billion in fiscal year 2019-2020 due to government’s various effective initiatives. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also recently said that the country’s remittance inflow will stand to $20 billion in fiscal 2019-20. “The government has started giving 2 percent cash incentive on money remitted by expatriate Bangladeshis to remove the burden of increased expenses in sending remittances,” Kamal said.

It will encourage expatriates bringing in remittance through legal channels instead of ‘Hundi’, he said adding that the government is working hard and taking various activities locally as well as abroad to boost remittance inflow. However, the remittance inflow stood at almost $7.71 billion during July-November in fiscal year 2019-20, according to the Bangladesh Bank (BB).

This inflow increased by 22.70 percent comparing the same period of time last year, which was$6.28 billion. The expatriates sent $1.59 billion remittance in July, $1.44 billion in August, $1.46 billion in September, $1.64 billion in October and $1.55 billion in November in FY20 respectively. Experts said the government’s good initiatives, especially cash incentive for remitters increased awareness among expatriate workers and encouraged them to send their hard-earned money through legal channels pushing up the remittance inflow.

Besides, strong dollar rate against taka also helped to increase remittance inflow as remitters got more money, he added. Now, expatriates have got 2 percent cash incentive on their remitted amount since 1 July current year. BB officials said remittance inflows increased at a record high last fiscal and continued, which is good news for them.

Earlier, the government and the Bangladesh Bank (BB) were worried over a sliding trend in remittance inflow during fiscal years 2015-2017. However, the country has made a strong comeback in the recent times, thanks to some good steps taken by the government, BB officials said.

However, Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $11.65 billion in FY11, $12.84 billion in FY12, $14.46 billion in FY13, $14.23 billion in FY14, $15.31 billion in FY15, $14.93 billion in FY16, $12.77 billion in FY17 and $14.98 billion in FY18 respectively. Lead Economist of World Bank, Dr Zahid Hussain, told Bangladesh Post, “The remittance has recently increased as local currency Taka has depreciated against US dollar besides oil price hike abroad.”

Hussain pointed out that Bangladeshi expatriate workers, who speak little English, have poor basic formal education and few vocational industry-specific skills, often face severe job insecurities. The government should immediately solve these problems and focus on boosting remittance flow which will help increase foreign exchange reserve, he added.

The government should train up local workers as skilled labour before sending them abroad, Zahid said, adding that Bangladesh should build good relations with other countries for sending more skilled workers abroad, which will boost up remittance flow significantly. Former advisor of the caretaker government and eminent economist AB Mirza Azizul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “Remittance inflow has recently increased as the government has taken many initiatives including providing cash incentive to remitters as well as strong dollar rate.”