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Ariful Islam
To push the remittance inflow further up, the government should focus on creating skilled manpower for the overseas job market, experts said.
As the economic uplift of a developing country like Bangladesh largely depends on the remittances received from developed countries like America, Russia, UK, KSA, UAE and Qatar, it is very much essential to properly train up the workers before sending them abroad, they added.
Although the number of expatriate workers from Bangladesh have increased significantly in recent months, but the growth of remittance remained lower in FY18 than the level achieved in FY15, the highest ever in the country.
Between 2013 and 2017, about 2.32 million have people joined the migrant labour force. The average monthly expat workers have increased to almost 84,000 in 2017 from only 35,520 in 2014.
On the other hand, the inflow of remittance recorded more than 17 percent rise to almost $14.98 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal after falling trend in several years from $12.77 billion in the 2016-2017 fiscal.
Despite the considerable rise, the flow has still remained 2.32 percent lower than the amount $15.31 billion in FY15.
Meanwhile, the remittance flow was $14.93 billion in FY16 fiscal and $12.77 billion in FY17 fiscal respectively.
In September 2018, the remittance flow saw a falling trend at $1.12 billion, which was 20 percent lower than the previous month’s $1.41 billion.
However, in the wake of the global recession, Bangladeshi migrant workers have been at the risk of losing their jobs, because they are usually on the bottom-rung of skilled labour, economists said.
The World Bank has pointed out Bangladeshi expatriate 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.
Government’s various initiatives, healthier Arab economy for oil price hike and stronger dollar rate at home have recently pushed remittance flow up significantly, which is still not satisfactory level, 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 especially training up manpower for jobs abroad, 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.
Md Adel Haque, former joint director of the central bank, told Bangladesh Post that the government should find out useful initiatives to increase remittance earnings from new destinations which will help protect the country remittance earnings from risk.
Economist and former BB governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said, “The government should give more focus on different countries, which are contributing lower remittance flow to Bangladesh at present, by taking effective measures.
He said “Now it’s time to train up manpower for jobs abroad. Otherwise, remittance flow will not increase to a satisfactory level.”
Lead Economist of World Bank Dr Zahid Hussain said the remittance has recently increased as local currency taka has depreciated against US dollar side by side oil price hike in abroad.
He said the government should immediately focus on boosting remittance flow which will help increase foreign exchange reserve.
The government should train up local workers as skilled labours before sending them abroad, Zahid said, adding that Bangladesh should build good relation with others countries for sending more skilled workers abroad, which will boost up remittance flow significantly.