Kamal calls for generating new reform ideas to bring more remittances

Published : 25 Sep 2023 09:50 PM

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday urged all concerned to come up with thought provoking reform ideas to bring more remittances in the country for enriching the foreign currency reserve.

"More and more people are going abroad, but remittances do not commensurate with the number of expatriates going abroad. Remittances could have reached $30 billion a year," he said.

Kamal also said, "Let us take necessary measures to augment the remittance, pursuing both fiscal and monetary policies. I simply request you to kindly come up with your thought provoking reform ideas, to bring more remittances."

The Finance Minister was addressing the Public Financial Management (PFM) Summit'23 as the chief guest held at a city hotel jointly organized by the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank.

Highlighting the immense need of inward remittance under the current circumstances, he said inflow of remittances solely can solve the country's problem of foreign exchange and eventually other macroeconomic problems arising from this sector.

World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Abdoulaye Seck and practice manager, governance global practice of the South Asia region of the World Bank Hisham Waly spoke as special guests chaired by Secretary of the FinanceDivision Dr Md Khairuzzaman Mozumder.

Finance Division additional secretary Shirajun Noor Chowdhury made a power- point presentation on the overview, successes and challenges of PFM reform in Bangladesh while a video documentary showcasing key PFM achievements as well as a short film on the success stories of the government pension reform were also screened.

Noting that remittances have always played a vital role in the country's economy, the Finance Minister said that the inward remittances have increased from $7.9 billion to $24.3 billion after introducing 2 percent incentives.

"But, we've failed to keep this momentum. So far, 10 million Bangladeshi people are working abroad, and the number is growing every year," he added.The Finance Minister said Bangladesh has achieved several milestones of public finance reforms under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Highlighting some of the important macroeconomic achievements of the government over the last 15 years, Kamal said Bangladesh is now the 35th largest economy in the world while the GDP size increased four and a half times, amounting to $454 billion while it was only $91 billion in 2008.

World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh Abdoulaye Seck noted that strong public financial management systems ensure effective and efficient service delivery and good governance."This is now more important than ever as we are confronted with an array of complex and unprecedented global challenges, including the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian invasion in Ukraine, climate change, and others. 

In the face of these challenges, the role of effective public finacial management has never been more vital,"he added.

He said the Theme of the Summit "Institutionalization of PFM reform" could not be more pertinent, given the challenging times all could find themselves today. "This summit serves as a testament to the collective commitment we share in strengthening public financial management systems worldwide," he added.

Planning Division Secretary Satyajit Karmakar, Director General of CPTU Mohammed Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury, NBR Member Masud Sadique, additional secretary to the Cabinet Division Dr Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, Director General of Financial Management Academy (FIMA) Abul Kalam Azad spoke as key PFM stakeholders in a session moderated by Finance Division additional secretary Rehana Perven.