Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladeshis working abroad sent home nearly US$11 billion in 2010, clocking a modest growth of 2.4 percent after number of overseas jobseekers declined sharply due to poor demand in key destinations.
The central bank officials said the country’s estimated seven million overseas workers remitted $10.97 in the outgoing calendar year with the year-on-year growth being the lowest in recent years.
The country received nearly $10.72 in remittance 2009, registering a healthy growth of 19 per cent. The previous three years, annualised growth in remittance hovered around 20 per cent, which boosted the economy.
Bangladeshi nationals sent home an estimated $963.53 million in December, up over $17.54 million from the previous month, according to provisional statistics of the Bangladesh Bank (BB).
A BB senior official termed the flow “satisfactory” adding that remittances growth turned positive in the last month of the year after months of stagnation.
“We expect that the flow of inward remittances will grow continually in the coming months,” he said without elaborating.
The sluggish growth comes despite the BB 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.
Four state-run commercial banks and dozens of private commercial banks have stepped up efforts to increase remittance flow from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States. 
“We’re still serious about increasing the inflow of remittances through official channels to meet our internal foreign exchange demand,” a senior official of a commercial bank said. 
As part of the move, some banks are trying to set up their own exchange houses or drawing arrangements with overseas companies in the different parts of the world, he added.
The country’s foreign exchange reserve stood at $11.23 billion Monday, due to the higher inflow of remittance.
BBN/SI/AD-04Jan11-6:24 pm (BST)