Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladeshis working abroad remitted a US$ 937 million in August 2009, the highest monthly inflow in history, thanks largely to the forthcoming Eid-ul Fitr festival, officials said on Thursday.

“The remittance amount in August is a new record after June,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, said in Dhaka, preferring anonymity, adding that $919.10 million was remitted in the month of June.

The August figure is up by $52.53 million from July, according to the central bank statistics released on Thursday.

The record rise in inward remittance is due mainly to the ensuing Eid-ul Fitr, the biggest religious festival for the Muslims, when traditionally migrant workers send home increased amount of money, the BB officials added.

Bangladesh received $1.823 billion during the July-August period of fiscal 2009-10, registering an 18.19 per cent growth over the corresponding 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 and boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

As part of the measures, the BB has issued four more licenses to three commercial banks in the last month for setting up exchange houses in different parts of the world aimed at expediting remittance inflow.

Four state-run commercial banks and dozens of private commercial banks have also stepped up efforts to increase remittance flow from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.

“We are establishing new contacts with overseas exchange houses so that our overseas workers can find it easy to send money back home. We’re also trying to set up our own exchange houses,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Agrani Bank Limited Syed Abu Naser Bukhtear Ahmed told BBN in the capital, Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $9.149 billion on Thursday due to the robust remittance.

The BB officials said the foreign exchange reserve would come down slightly as the central bank is set to pay around $512 million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) in a day or two.

The ACU is an arrangement among the central banks of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Burma, officially known as Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to settle trade related payments on a multilateral basis.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-04September09-2:50 am (BST)