Vol. 5 Num 568 Sat. December 31, 2005  

Good news about remittance
Better policies could improve earning further
That contradictions can bring out the underlying strength in a situation can be a pleasant surprise is brought home by an extraordinary development in Bangladesh's foreign exchange earning. In spite of around nine percent decline in manpower export this year from the recorded 2.71 lakh Bangladeshi wage earners overseas last year, the figures in earning instead of decreasing has increased. Whereas it was $3.5 billion last year with more people on the job abroad, the earning figure has closed on an upbeat note of $4 billion this year.

How did it happen? Two reasons have been attributed to the higher remittance takings. First, and chiefly, the new system for remitting money through the official channels is a simplified one allowing for quick delivery of money at points of destination. We could assume that some stringent measures lately taken by Bangladesh Bank may have discouraged many Bangladeshi wage earners from taking recourse to hundi, the hitherto preferred fast-track route for money transfer. Whether it has significantly checkmated money laundering or not should be a matter for study and investigation. The second reason for the interesting spurt in earnings against odds is put down to an increase in the number of our skilled workers finding jobs abroad and sending money to their relatives at home. The appreciation of the dollar value only increased the receipt in taka term at the level of the beneficiaries, which is another gain in the bargain.

Our one achievement is more money coming through official channels and the other, of course, is the concomitant increase in the level of forex remitted to the country. So, this then is one bit of strength leading to another of it. And, if only we can now break new grounds in terms of manpower marketing, our earnings would be so much the greater.

Our expatriate welfare ministry must now strive to formulate a fresh policy framework focusing on new areas and building capacities among people for absorption abroad through greater skill training in accord with periodic demand assessments relating to the targeted markets.