Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The flow of inward remittances increased slightly February this year over that of the previous month despite less working days, officials said.
Bangladeshi nationals working abroad sent US$974.46 million in 18 working days of February last, up by $3.92 million from the previous month. In January 2011, the remittance was $970.54 million, according to the central bank statistics released on Thursday.  
 “The inflow of remittance is still in a stable position. But we are very much cautious about the Middle East situation,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the central bank is observing the latest development in the Middle East countries closely. 
Bangladesh received $7.495 billion during the July-February period of fiscal 2010-11, registering a 2.49 per cent growth over the same period of the previous fiscal, the BB’s data showed. 
The central bank of Bangladesh earlier took a series of measures to encourage expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard earned money through formal banking channel instead of the illegal “hundi” system to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Currently, some private commercial banks along with the state-owned commercial banks are desperately trying to increase the flow of inward remittances from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.
 “We’re establishing new contacts with overseas exchange houses so that our migrant workers can find it easy to send money back home,” a senior official of a leading private commercial bank said, adding that some banks are trying to set up their own exchange houses in different parts of the world. 
The country’s foreign exchange reserve stood at $11.23 billion on Thursday, despite nominal growth of remittance from Bangladeshis working abroad, the BB officials confirmed. 
BBN/SI/AD-03Mar11-9:13 pm (BST)