Vol. 5 Num 1100 Thu. July 05, 2007  

Remittances stand close to $6b in FY07
Clock 24.61pc growth

Bangladesh received close to US$ 6 billion remittances in the just concluded fiscal year, thanks to increased manpower export.

Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) in 2006-07 sent $ 5984 million compared to $ 4802 million in 2005-06, recording a 24.61 percent growth.

With the rise in remittances, the country's foreign exchange reserves yesterday hit an all time high at $ 5.09 billion.

The remittance inflow maintained $ 500 a month during the last five months. The remittances reached $ 517.23 million in June, $ 561.92 million in May, $ 545.93 million in April, $ 537.29 in March and $ 500.32 million in February of the last fiscal year.

Banking sources said the remittances would have crossed $ 6 billion last fiscal year had there been no money transfer scam by the First Solution Money Transfer Ltd in London.

Bankers said the government's recent measures against 'hundi', an illegal way of money transfer, encouraged the Bangladeshi wage earners to send money home through legal channels.

According to Bangladesh Economic Review 2007, the government took several initiatives to increase the remittance apart from creating opportunities for employment abroad.

The measures include extension of drawing system of Bangladeshi banks with more foreign exchange houses, and fixation of annual minimum limit of exchange houses in the UK, US and Canada to increase remittance inflow through banking channels.

The private commercial banks have also taken initiatives to increase their earnings from remittance services, the sources said.

The Bangladesh Economic Review said overseas employment and money sent by the NRBs are contributing to the country's economic development.

A total of 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis went abroad in 2004-05, which was 9.75 percent lower compared to the previous year. But in 2005-06, the number stood at 2.91 lakh, which was 16.4 percent higher than the previous fiscal year's, the review said.

It said in the first ten months of the 2006-07 fiscal, the number of manpower export stood at 4.21 lakh, showing 83.14 percent rise.

Bangladesh exported around 47.51 lakh people across the globe from 1976 to April 2007, according to the review.

The NRBs send roughly $ 7 billion every year and a significant amount of the total amount still comes through 'hundi'.

Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Pubali Bank and Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd are the major players handling the remittance inflow.