Remittance inflow continues despite uncertain future
Remittance sent by our expatriate countrymen is one of the main pillars of the Bangladesh economy. Last year, the expatriates sent $18.3 billion of their earnings in remittance through the banking channel. However, this year the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown our expat worker in huge uncertainty as major world economies remain under severe strain.
Wages of many have been slashed, while many losing their jobs in the Middle Eastern countries and Europe. Many countries went into lockdown, shutting down banks and all formal channels for facilitating money transfer options. Left with no job, many had to return home. We fear that many more thousands, possibly over a million expat workers will return home by the end of the year. Optimistically enough, the situation could have been much worse had our expats stopped remitting.
Despite all odds it is encouraging to note, our emigrant workers did not completely stop sending remittance. They are doing their best, even borrowing, so that the remittance inflow does not stop.
In fact, if all goes well the flow is likely to rise ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. In total, expatriates sent $606 crore or Tk 51,510 crore between January and May 12 this year, according to Bangladesh Bank sources. BB sources also confirmed that from July last year to April this year, expatriates sent $1,485.60 crore in remittance. However, following the Coronavirus outbreak in December, the remittance flow started to decline from January. In January, $163 crore was remitted while in February the remittance inflow was $145 crore. As widespread lockdowns were imposed due to the pandemic, the remitted money in March this year stood at $128 crore, a 12 percent decline from what was remitted in March last year.
In April this year, expatriates remitted $108.10 crore. With the Eid festival knocking at the door, the remittance flow, however, has risen in May. In the first two weeks of May alone, $62.4 crore was received in remittance.
We believe the situation will improve further as USA and many of the European countries have begun to ease their respective lockdowns. We appreciate the tenacity and perseverance of our expatriate workforce for not suspending remitting money home, and therefore request to carry on and endure until the situation completely changes. This too shall pass.