Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The flow of inward remittances fell by 18.62 percent in August, the month of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr festival, with the period witnessing fewer working days, officials said.
Bangladeshi nationals working abroad sent US$ 1.008 billion on 17 working days of August last. The amount was lower by $230.76 million than the remittance-earning in the previous month. On 22 working days of July 2013, the remittance was $1.239 billion, according to the central bank statistics, released on Tuesday. 
“The inflow of remittance decreased slightly in August, the month of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of the Muslims,” a senior official at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that most of the remittances were sent in July last by the expatriates to their families back home to help the latter celebrate the Eid festival in a comfortable way.
The central banker also said fewer working days of August have also led to the decrease in the flow of inward remittances.
“We expect that flow of inward remittances will pick up this month ahead of Eid-ul-Azha festival,” the BB official said, adding that that the central bank was working continuously to increase the flow of inward remittances.
The country received a total of $2.247 billion during the July-August period of the fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 against $2.379 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the BB data showed.
The central bank 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.
Four state-run commercial banks and dozens of private commercial banks have stepped up their efforts to increase remittance inflow from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.
“We’re still serious about increasing the remittance inflow through the official channel to meet our own foreign exchange need,” a senior official at a leading private commercial bank said.
He also said some banks were now trying to set up their own exchange houses or making arrangements with overseas companies across the world to expedite the flow of inward remittances.
BBN/SSR/AD-03Sept13-9:10 pm (BST)