Remittance slips in Jan amid volatility

Remittance

The country received $1.23 billion in remittance last month, down 2.05 percent year-on-year.

The figure too is lower than the amount received in December last year, when $1.27 billion was remitted by migrant workers, according to data from Bangladesh Bank.

Experts said migrant workers are worried about the upheaval on the country’s political front, ongoing since January 6, due to which they have held back from sending in money.

Officials of the central bank however said the negative growth can be made up after Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen its labour market to migrant workers from Bangladesh after a six-year bar.

Saudi Arabia is home to more than 15 lakh migrant workers from Bangladesh, the country’s largest contingent of migrant workers.

Riyadh’s refusal to take in Bangladeshi workers in the last six years had led to a decline in overall labour migration.

Sent by more than 8 million migrant workers, remittance plays a key role in reducing the overall incidence of poverty in the country as well as helping the country maintain a healthy balance of payment.

In the first seven months of the fiscal year, the country received $8.03 billion in remittance, which is a year-on-year increase of 8.56 percent. If the migrant workers continue to send in money as they have done so far, Bangladesh may receive $15 billion this fiscal year.

Last fiscal year, the country received nearly $14.23 billion in remittance, down from fiscal 2012-13’s $14.46 billion.

The slowdown in remittance in fiscal 2013-14 was primarily a consequence of a 36 percent drop in the number of workers migrating in fiscal 2012-13, according to the latest monetary policy statement of Bangladesh Bank.

Remittance growth started gaining in the second half of last fiscal year and became positive in the first half of the current fiscal year.