Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The flow of inward remittance dropped by 16.73 per cent in February, 2018 mainly due to fewer working days, officials said.

Bangladeshi nationals working abroad sent US$1.15 billion in February. The amount was lower by $230.79 million than the remittance sent in the previous month.

In January 2018, the remittance was $1.38 billion. It was $940.75 million in February 2017, according to the central bank’s latest statistics, released on Thursday.

Talking to the BBN, the officials also said the flow of overall inward remittance is maintaining an upward trend continuously following depreciating mode of the local currency against the US dollar.

The inflow of overall remittance jumped by more 16.56 per cent or $1.34 billion to $9.46 billion during the July-February period of the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 from $8.12 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.

“We’re working continuously to increase the flow of inward remittance from different parts of the world,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said without elaborating.

Currently, 29 exchange houses are operating across the globe along with 1,198 drawing arrangements to boost the remittance inflow, according to the central banker.

Senior bankers, however, said the flow of inward remittances increased significantly in the first eight month of this fiscal following higher exchange rate of the US dollar against the local currency along with strengthening monitoring by the BB to curb illegal fund transfers.

The local currency depreciated by around BDT 2.50 against the US dollar during the period under review for purchasing the greenback from remitters, official known as TT (Telegraphic Transfer) clean, according to a senior executive of a leading private commercial bank.

The average exchange rate of the US dollar came down to BDT 82.5189 for TT clean on Thursday from BDT 82.5236 of the previous working day, according to the statistics of Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (BAFEDA).

“Such depreciation of the Bangladesh Taka (BDT) against the US currency has contributed to push up the flow of inward remittances in the recent months,” the private banker explained.

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 reserve.

Currently, most banks are trying to increase the flow of inward remittance from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.

“We’re trying to increase the inflow of remittance through official channel continuously to meet our internal foreign exchange demand,” another private banker said.

He said most of the banks are now trying to establish new contacts with overseas exchange houses so that the migrant workers can find it easier to send money back home.

All PCBs received $ 840.59 million as remittance in February last while the state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs) received $284.85 million, foreign commercial banks (FCBs) $ 12.60 million, and specialised banks $10.96 million.