Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The flow of inward remittances witnessed a significant fall from the European Union (EU) in the fiscal ended on June 30 following the ongoing economic recession, officials said.

The central bank of Bangladesh has taken special measures to allow operation of more exchange houses in the EU countries against the backdrop of declining trend of remittance inflow from the Euro zone, they added.

“The flow of remittances declined from three major EU countries — the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy — in fiscal 2008-09 (FY09) due mainly to the ongoing financial crisis,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, told BBN in Dhaka on Thursday.

The inflow of remittance from the United Kingdom decreased to US$789.65 million in FY09 from $896.13 million in the previous fiscal while the flow of remittance from Italy came down to $186.90 million from $214.46 million, according to the central bank statistics.

The country received a total of $19.32 million as remittances from Germany in FY09 against $26.87 million in the previous fiscal while the flow of remittances from Australia dropped to $6.78 million from $13.11 million, the BB officials confirmed.

The central bank has issued a licence to the Standard Bank Limited, a private commercial bank, to set up an exchange house in London to expedite the flow of inward remittances from the UK, they said, adding that the Prime Bank Limited had also submitted an application to establish an exchange house in the UK.

The First Security Bank Limited has also applied to the central bank for establishing an exchange house in Italy, according to the officials.

“We’re now securitizing the applications of the banks concerned,” the BB official said, adding that the central bank had taken the move to stop unhealthy competition among the exchange houses in the EU countries.

Saudi Arabia topped the list of major sources of remittance for Bangladesh with a total of $2.859 billion in FY 09, the BB’s data showed.

The United Arab Emirates, the United States, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea are among the other top sources of remittance.

Remittances sent by Bangladeshis working abroad reached $9.689 billion, a record in the country’s history, in FY09, marking a 22.42 per cent growth over the last fiscal.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-24July09-3:52 am (BST)