Sudden boost in remittance inflow mustn’t make us complacent
It is encouraging to note that foreign remittance inflow into the country has markedly defied all odds triggered by the COVID - 19 Pandemic. It was expected to keep falling on a regular note because of the ongoing global recession, leaving one of our major earning sources wobbling, but in reality the opposite has happened. It is thriving.
After remitting home a record $18.20 billion last fiscal year that ended on June 30, migrant workers sent in another $2.6 billion in July, which is a record for a single month. July's inflows were up by 38.5 percent from a year earlier and 42.1 percent from the previous month, according to Bangladesh Bank sources. Moreover, the robust inflow of remittance pushed foreign exchange reserves past the $37 billion mark for the first time in history. This remarkable development has taken place in a stark contrast to the grim predictions foretold by a number of economists.
However, now the challenge is all about for how long the inflow sustains, keeps increasing and backing up our economy to march forward. Additionally, we will have to ensure that our government focuses more on exploring untapped foreign job markets, and especially in the wake of a huge threat of hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi workers to be returning home from the Middle East. Thousands of our migrant workers have already returned with no new migration for the best part of this year.
Nevertheless, we mustn't forget that the The Asian Development Bank in a report earlier this week said Bangladesh would be among the five-worst developing Asian economies in terms of remittance inflows. In the 'worst-case scenario', Bangladesh's remittance will decline by 27.8 percent from its 2018 level. In 2018, Bangladesh received $15.5 billion in remittance. And the 'worst-case' scenario further assumes that the domestic outbreak control and resumption of economic activities will take a year's time. It further mentioned that the economic impact of COVID -19 will persist throughout the year and dissipate halfway in the last 3 months of the outbreak. That said - the sudden and unexpected boost in remittance inflow must not inspire us to turn complacent and leave the fate into hands of divine power. Most importantly, a single month record can well drop in the months to follow.
Since the pandemic is a global health crisis and has placed the inflow remittance of many countries into jeopardy - we expect the government to move forward with the possible bleak scenario envisaged in the recent ADB report. To finish with, government's authorities concerned must maintain constant communications with manpower importing countries through proper channels so that Bangladeshi workers can find jobs not when normalcy returns, but under the 'New Normal.'