Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Remittances from expatriate Bangladeshis exceeded US$9.0 billion in the first 10 months of the current fiscal, marking a 16.72 percent growth over the same period of last fiscal, officials said.

The remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $921.24 million in April, a fall by $35.25 million from the previous month. In March 2010, the remittance was $956.49 million, according to the central bank statistics, released on Monday.

“The flow of remittances is still at a satisfactory level,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the total amount of remittances dropped slightly in the month of April over that of the previous month mainly due to fewer working days.

“We expect the inflow of remittance to cross $11 billion by the end of the fiscal,” the BB official said, adding that the central bank is working continuously to promote the flow of remittances through formal channels from different countries including the United States and the European Union.

The country received $9.191 billion in remittance during the July-April period of the fiscal 2009-10 compared with $7.874 billion received in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

The latest figure shows that despite decline in overseas jobs, the remittance inflow has maintained a robust growth in continuation of last fiscal’s trend, when remittances grew by 22.41 per cent, the central bank officials said.

They also said the central bank earlier took a series of measures to encourage expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned money through the formal banking channel, instead of using illegal “hundi” system, to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The country’s foreign exchange reserve stood at $10.623 billion Monday due to a robust flow of remittance, the BB officials confirmed.

Currently, some private commercial banks (PCBs) along with the state-owned commercial banks (SCBs) are desperately trying to increase the flow of inward remittances from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.

“We are still tapping ways to increase the inflow of remittances through official channel to meet our internal foreign exchange demand,” a senior official of a commercial bank told BBN, adding that adding that there is no alternative to meet the import payments without inward remittances.

BBN/SS/SSR/AD-04May10-9:57 am (BST)