BB sees $12b remittance in FY12

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=158231&date=2011-12-04

BB sees $12b remittance in FY12
Siddique Islam

Expatriate Bangladeshis are set to remit home US$12 billion in the current fiscal year thanks to an up-tick in overseas employment, depreciation of Taka and a central bank drive to woo flow through official channels, officials said Saturday.

Some nine million Bangladeshis working and living abroad sent home $11.65 billion in the previous fiscal year, placing Dhaka among the top-five net remittance recipient nations.

“We expect remittance inflow may cross $12 billion this year,” a Bangladesh Bank (BB) executive director said.

The official said the projection is based on the amount of the greenback remitted in the first five months to November. The World Bank also made similar estimate in a recent report.

Bangladesh received $4.01 billion as remittance during July-October period of the current fiscal year (FY), posting a 12.05 per cent growth over the same period last year, according to the central bank.

Remittance flow may fall slightly in November but pick up in December, the ED said.

In October Bangladeshi workers remitted $1.04 billion — a year-on-year growth of 13 per cent — due to the Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festival of the Muslim-majority nation.

In September, remittance stood at $855.44 million.

“The up-trend in remittance will continue in the near future as more workers are going abroad with jobs while depreciation of Taka against US dollars is prompting the workers to remit more money home,” said another official.

According to the Bureau of Manpower and Employment Training (BMET), at least 400,000 people have found overseas jobs, the best figure in two years.

He said the BB’s multi-pronged drive to encourage expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned money through formal banking channel instead of the illegal “hundi” system has started to pay off.

As part of the steps, the BB is now issuing permissions promptly to the banks for signing ‘drawing arrangement’ deals with the overseas money transfer companies to facilitate smooth flow of remittance.

The central bank has also issued a raft of licences to private commercial banks (PCBs) to set up more exchange houses abroad to expedite remittance flow, the BB official said.

He also said the central bank has issued a licence to a PCB for establishing an exchange house in the Maldives to facilitate inflow of remittance from the South Asian country.

In addition, the central bank has given permissions to the commercial banks to disburse remittances using networks of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), he added.

“We’ve asked all commercial banks to ensure delivery of remitted money to the beneficiaries within 72 hours of its arrival,” the central banker said.

He added the BB has strengthening monitoring the exchange rate, offered by the commercial banks to their overseas exchange houses for receiving remittances, in an effort ensure fair deals for the recipients.

Four state-run banks and dozens of private lenders have also stepped up efforts to scale up remittance flow from the Middle East, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy and the United States.

Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, an 8.0 per cent increase over $325 billion in 2010, the World Bank said in a recent report.

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