Bangladeshi expatriate workers sent a record amount of remittance home in May. They sent $1.75 billion, a new monthly record, during the holy month of Ramadan to ensure that their loved ones back home can celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with more festivities. The amount received in May was 22.43 percent higher than that received in the same month the previous year. Earlier, the highest amount of remittance inflow in a single month was $159.72 crore in January this year. May’s inflows take the remittance receipts in the first 11 months of the fiscal year to $15.50 billion, up 11.74 percent year-on-year. According to central bank sources, one of the reasons for the spike in remittance is that many banks are offering competitive rate to attract remitters with a view to strengthening their foreign exchange reserve. Besides, strong dollar rate against the local currency has also prompted expatriates to remit additional money. On May 30, the interbank exchange rate was Tk 84.50 for a dollar, up nearly 1 percent from a year earlier. Executive Director and spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank Serajul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “Remittance inflow has recently increased as the central bank has taken a series of initiatives, including encouraging expatriates to send their hard-earned money through the banking channel instead of the illegal ‘hundi’ system.” Both the central bank and commercial banks ran awareness programmes abroad, he added. He also hoped that remittance inflow will exceed $1.600 crore ($16 billion) in the ongoing fiscal year 2018-19, which will also be a record in a single year. It is to be noted that remittance is one of the driving force of the country’s economy. At present more than a crore country’s people are living abroad. They contributed 12 percent in the country’s GDP. 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. A BB official said the central bank is still working to increase remittances from across the world.
Bangladesh Bank would submit a set of recommendations to the government to boost the remittance inflow up further, he informed. He said Bangladesh Bank had been in a state of worry regarding the slide in remittance earnings during the last couple of years, but the country has now witnessed a turnaround through fetching foreign currencies in recent times.
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 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. Haque said employment of skilled labourers aboard as well as market diversification can significantly increase the remittance flow in future. Currently, 29 money exchange houses are operating across the globe with 1,205 drawing arrangements set up abroad to boost the remittance inflow, according to the BB official.