Published:  03:32 AM, 11 October 2018

Inward remittance surges

The official remittance inflow is increasing day by day as more Bangladeshi migrant workers are sending money to their families through bKash and other mobile financial services instead of using unofficial channels.

Migrant workers sent some Tk 31.74 crore in August - a surprising 241.65 percent rise in the same month of last year, according to the central bank data. Migrants living in different counties in the Middle East said sending money through mobile banking channel is quick, secured and cost effective.

Remittance inflow through bKash partner banks - BRAC Bank, MTB and Bank Asia -- has now reached $14 million till last month and the exchange value has been disbursed to thousands of local recipients, industry sources said.

Out of 56 banks, only 17 have their own MFS services to remit money instantly to the beneficiaries while bKash has the largest client base across the country with around 3 million subscribers mostly living in remote areas and remittance recipients. Commercial banks used bKash as the last mile delivery solution of remittance money to the recipients in real time.

More than half a million Bangladeshis migrated to various countries in recent years, adding to the 9 million migrants already living abroad, many since the 1970s. They often maintain close ties with loved ones back home and even assist them with funds. Most of them send remittance of small ticket size ranging from $20 to $200.

Last year, Bangladesh earned remittance worth $13.5 billion, equivalent to 6.1 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). A World Bank study says 65 percent of the total value of remittances goes to rural areas in Bangladesh.

High cost of remittance service is the main obstacle to remittance growth. Industry experts say an efficient model to channel formal remittance of small tickets at lower is the demand of time. Major General Sheikh Monirul Islam (retd), Chief External Officer of bKash Limited, said bKash delivers remittance money to the recipients in remote areas in real time.

So, migrant workers are increasingly finding the formal option to send their hard earned money through banks partnered with bKash. "Our payment innovation reduces the hassle dramatically. At the same time the sense of instant gratification makes both the sender and recipient immensely happy.

The hard earned money sent by the migrants to their friends and families adds up to the overall economic growth and that is pretty much known by Bangladeshi diaspora living in different parts of the globe. That is why the intensity of the inward foreign remittance is increasing at a faster pace," he added.

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