Inward remittance hits record low
The amount of remittance sent by Bangladeshi migrants hit record low in September this year since 2011.

According to the Bangladesh Bank, the country received $850 million as remittance in the past month that is equal to the remittances once sent by the Bangladeshis in 2011.

The inflow of remittance marked 19 per cent decline in September, compared to that of the same month in the previous year.

The amount also recorded 40 per cent low, compared to the previous month of August.

BB executive director and spokesperson Subhankar Saha said September was a month of Eid. Most of the migrants sent money the previous month. This resulted in the remittance downturn.

“In fact, we consider three months’ aggregated amount of the remittances to calculate the changes in remittance inflow. The three-month average (July-September) sees increase in amount that of last year’s,” he added.

Bangladesh Bank data show that the 2016-17 financial year witnessed 14 per cent decline in inward remittances that hit five-year low.

During the fiscal year, the country received $12.76 billion, the central bank data show. The amount was $14.93 billion in 2015-2016.

According to Bangladesh Bank, the migrants sent $150 million through Islami Bank, $60 million through state-owned Agrani Bank and $60 million through Sonali Bank.

Following decline in remittances, Bangladesh Bank sent two representative teams to Singapore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia to find out the reasons behind this.

The representatives found that the Bangladesh migrants would send money back home through informal channels (mobile banking).

The Bangladesh Bank representatives also found that the hundi money was being distributed through mobile banking in the home, too. The Bangladesh Bank named it ‘digital hundi.’

Following the reports, the central bank shut down activities of 2,887 bKash agents (one of the most popular informal money transferring channels in the country) and 1,863 bKash accounts.

Asked about the matter, Policy Research Institute (PRI) executive director Ahsan H Monsur said, “As we are receiving less remittance, it has a negative effect on our investment and foreign reserves. That gap of balance of trade will affect our economy.”

In a report prepared on September’s inward remittances, the World Bank said Bangladeshi migrants are using informal channels to send money to home.

*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam.