Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The flow of inward remittances drooped by 11.15 per cent in the just concluded calendar year –2016 despite a significant rise in the out-bound jobs of Bangladesh nationals.
Bangladeshi overseas workers remitted $13.61 billion in 2016 against $15.32 billion in 2015, according to the central bank statistics, released on Sunday.
“We’re working to expedite the flow of inward remittances from different parts of the world in 2017,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.
As part of the latest moves, the central bank of Bangladesh had already relaxed policy for establishment of drawing arrangement between the overseas exchange houses and the banks operating in Bangladesh to facilitate the inflow of remittances.
Under the relaxations, the amount of security deposit for drawing arrangement came down to US$10,000 from $25,000 while security deposit for Non-Resident Taka (NRT) account got trimmed down to BDT 0.20 million from BDT 0.50 million.
A high-powered committee has already been formed to check the inflow of remittances using illegal channel particularly hundi instead of the official channel, according to the central banker.
He also said the central bank is providing necessary directions to the authorities concerned in this regard.
“We expect that the inflow of remittances will increase by the end of this calendar year,” the BB official noted.
The remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $958.73 million this past December, up by $7.56 million from that of the previous month. In November 2016, the remittances amounted to $951.37 million, the BB data showed.
Currently, 29 exchange houses are operating across the globe along with 1140 offshore drawing arrangements to expedite the remittance inflow.
The central bank of Bangladesh earlier took a series of measures to encourage the expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned money through the formal banking channel, instead of the illegal “hundi” system, to help boost the country’s foreign-exchange reserves.
According to the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), about 0.75 million Bangladeshi workers migrated to different countries in 2016, 35 per cent higher over the previous calendar year. It was 0.55 million in 2015.
“This year, the decline in oil prices on the global market has seriously affected the [job] markets in the Middle-Eastern countries where more than 80 per cent of Bangladeshi migrants are working,” Professor Tasneem Siddiqui, founding chairperson of the RMMRU, said recently while talking about the reasons for the fall in remittance inflow.
Earlier on November 14 last, the central bank at a meeting asked the banks for taking effective measures to revamp the flow of inward remittances from next month.
The central bank had taken the latest move as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had expressed her concern over downward projection of the inflow of remittances by the World Bank for the calendar year.
The multilateral development-financing agency has projected that the flow of inward remittance will come down to US$14.9 billion by the end of 2016 from $15.39 billion a year ago, according to the BB officials.
BBN/SSR/AD