Record remittance inflow

The country’s remittance inflow stood a record high at $16.03 billion till June 21 in the current fiscal, according to Bangladesh Bank (BB). This inflow was only $14.98 billion in the previous fiscal. Experts said strong dollar rate and expatriate workers’ increased awareness to send their hard earned money through legal channels have pushed the remittance inflow up.

They opined this flow will increase further as the government has given a special budgetary allocation for the fiscal year 2019-20. In the budget speech, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has already proposed keeping aside Tk 30.6 billion in the national budget for the coming fiscal year 2019-2020, aiming at facilitating the expatriates who would choose formal channels to remit money.

Expats will get 2 percent cash incentive on their remitted amount. 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. Earlier, the government and Bangladesh Bank (BB) were worried over a sliding trend in remittance inflow during fiscal years 2015-17. However, the country has made a strong comeback in recent times, thanks to some good steps taken up by the government, BB officials said.

They said, the sharp rise in inward remittance flow can be attributed to Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival in the country in the last month, as most of the country’s expatriates send money to their families to meet expenses during the holy month and for Eid. They expect, the remittance inflow will increase further in upcoming months for this good initiative to allocate special funds from the government to encourage the expatriates to send more money home.

An expatriate to Italy, Zeba Alam told this correspondent “The government has taken a good step for us (expatriates) by giving cash incentive, which will encourage Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRB) to send more money home through banking channel instead of illegal ‘Hundi’.” “We go through many hurdles abroad, but don’t get solution as quickly as other countries do for their workers,” she mentioned.

Alam demanded that the government take more steps to solve problems they face. Md Adel Haque, former joint director of the central bank, told Bangladesh Post, “Bangladesh’s economy is witnessing a sound growth with the constant rise in remittance earnings because of various effective initiatives of the government.”

He said, the remittance inflow has maintained positive growth for several months. He said, Bangladeshis working abroad have to go through various problems due to lack of proficiency in foreign languages, few vocation-specific skills and poor basic formal education, putting them at risk of losing jobs. In order to boost remittance inflow further, the government should focus on addressing these issues side by side tapping new job markets like in the European region, he added.

Economist and former BB governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said, “Bangladeshi expatriates are sending more money through the formal channel to fulfill their families’ needs' which helped the remittance inflow go up.” “Now it’s time to train up manpower for jobs abroad. This initiative will help expatriates get higher salaries and boost inflow of remittance, he said.”