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Remittance stays in negative territory

Inflow of money from expats falls by $72.46m in 2017

FE Report | January 02, 2018 00:00:00

The inward remittance flow remained pegged into a negative territory despite a significant rise in overseas jobs of Bangladeshi nationals by official count in the just-concluded year.

The remittance inflow fell by 0.53 per cent or US$72.46 million to $13.54 billion in 2017 from $13.61 billion a year before, according to the central bank statistics, released Monday.

According to officials, the flow of money remitted by the expatriates still stayed in the negative zone despite a rising trend in the same in the second half (H2) of the past calendar year.

Bangladeshi overseas workers sent $6.93 billion during the July-December period of 2017 against $6.17 billion in the same period of the previous calendar year.

The remittances increased in the H2 2017 following higher exchange rate of the US dollar against the local currency alongside the strengthening of monitoring by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) to curb illegal fund transfers, they added.

The local currency depreciated by more than Tk 4.0 against the dollar in the last one year for the purchase of the greenback from remitters -- officially known as TT (Telegraphic Transfer) clean.

A senior official of a leading private commercial bank, talking to the FE, explained this factor behind the push.

He said such depreciation of the Bangladesh Taka (BDT) against the dollar contributed to the upturn in the inward remittances in the recent months.

"We expect that the existing trend in inward remittances will continue in 2018 if both the central bank and the government's initiatives persist," a BB senior official told the FE.

The central bank of Bangladesh and the government are now working to expedite the flow of inward remittance from different parts of the world, as it is one of the two biggest contributors to Bangladesh's foreign-exchange reserves. The other one is garment export.

As part of the moves, the central bank had asked the banks for taking different measures to attract NRBs (Non-Resident Bangladeshis) through improvement in the quality of remittance services.

The banks have also been instructed to open 'helpdesk' at each branch concerned for ensuring better remittance services.

The banks will have to ensure providing information on remittance to the beneficiaries on priority, according to a notification issued by the BB earlier.

The remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $1.17 billion in December last, down by $47.57 million over the previous month. In November 2017, the remittance was $1.21 billion, the BB data showed.

Currently, 29 exchange houses are operating across the globe along with 1190 drawing arrangements set up abroad to expedite the remittance inflow, according to the central banker.

A total of 10,08,525 workers went abroad with employment in 2017, of them 122,000 were women, according to the state-run Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training latest statistics.

The growth in employment was about 33 per cent in 2017 compared to that of previous year. Some 757,731 outbound workers secured jobs abroad in 2016.

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