Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The inflow of remittances grew by 20.06 per cent in the first eight months of this fiscal year (FY), despite a significant fall in February, officials said.

The flow of inward remittances rose to $12.50 billion during the July-February period of FY ’20 from $10.41 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank latest statistics.

Remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $1.45 billion in February last, registering a decrease of $186.53 million from the previous month. In January 2020, the remittance stood at $1.64 billion.

The flow of inward remittances was $1.32 billion in February 2019.

Talking to the BBN, Kazi Sayedur Rahman, executive director of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), said fewer working days pushed down the inflow of remittances slightly in February.

About the impact of coronavirus, the central banker said they were yet to find out any adverse impact of the disease on the flow of inward remittances.

“We’ve to wait for assessing the impact of coronavirus on the inflow of remittance until April,” he added.

More than 85,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in 57 or more countries around the world causing almost 3,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The vast majority of infections and deaths are in China, where the virus emerged late last year.

“We’re watching closely the inflow of remittances countrywise to avert any unwanted situation,” Mr. Rahman explained.

He also hoped that the inflow of remittances might cross $20 billion-mark by the end of FY ’20.

Echoing the BB official, Md. Ali Hossain Prodhania, managing director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB), said the inflow of remittances might increase in the current month and that would continue in the coming months following incentive being provided by the government.

The government has already allocated BDT 30.60 billion as incentive in the budget for FY ’20 to encourage expatriate workers to send their money through legal channels.

The government’s incentive along with depreciating mode of the local currency against the US dollar has helped boost the inflow of remittances during the period under review, according to bankers.

The central bank had earlier taken a series of measures to encourage expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned money through the formal banking channel instead of illegal “hundi” system in order to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves.