Remittance declines in 9 months03 April 2014 Kazi Zahidul Hasan
Overseas Bangladeshis remitted an amount of $10.47 billion during the July-March period of the current financial year (2013-14), showing a decline of 5.77 per cent over the corresponding period of the pervious fiscal.Remittances sent home by the overseas workers reached $14.46 billion during the last fiscal (2012-13), while it was $11.12 billion during the nine months of the last fiscal, according to a Bangladesh Bank statistics.Officials said that workers remittance accounts for 15 per cent of the 'consumer spending' in Bangladesh and if such a falling trend of remittance continues it will affect the country's GDP growth. The BB data also shows that the workers remittance inflow marked 6.9 per cent fall in the first eight months of the current fiscal. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank, in a report on Tuesday said that the inflow of remittance continued to fall in the wake of reduced overseas employment, especially in the Middle East. Action against illegal workers in Saudi Arabia and taka appreciation also contributed to the lower remittance inflow, it added. The ADB report apprehends declining of remittance by 3 per cent for the FY 14 but in FY 2015 it will grow by 7 per cent as more jobs are expected to be created following the government efforts to engage with recruiting countries. "The inflow of remittance continued to fall mainly due to decreasing trend in manpower export and appreciation of local currency against the dollar," a senior central bank official told The New Nation yesterday.Besides, the official added: The recent burglaries in Sonali Bank and recurrence of financial scams in banking sector might be another cause for the falling remittance inflow in the legal channel. "The expatriates might be using illegal channels considering risk factors resulting in a fall of inward remittance inflow in the country," he noted. He pointed out that Bangladesh Bank had taken a series of measures to encourage the expatriate Bangladeshis to remit their money through formal banking channel, instead of the illegal 'hundi' system to boost the country's foreign exchange reserve. According to an official figure, overseas jobs for Bangladeshi workers fell by 13.1 per cent in the first eight months period of the current fiscal compared to the same period of the last fiscal. Economists, however, expressed concern over the falling trend of inward remittance, saying that it could have an adverse impact on the economy. They said the falling remittance could affect the stability of the external sector when import is rising. They also urged the government for initiating a coordinated effort with private recruiting agencies to boost the country's manpower export. A BB data also shows that Bangladeshi nationals working abroad remitted $1273.32 million through official channel in March this year compared to $1173.16 million in February. Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL) was the highest recipient of expatriates' remittance during the month of March that stood at $339.91 million followed by Agrani Bank with $138.88 million and Sonali Bank $130.95 million.