New facilities for expatriates on cards

Published:  01:01 AM, 09 January 2019

No charge to remit money

The government is planning to make the system of sending money from abroad easy and charge free. The money sent by the expatriates will also be reached to their families at government expenses. Bangladeshi expatriate workers will be able to get this facility very soon, according to sources.

A meeting was held in that regard with officials concerned of Bangladesh Bank, Financial Institution Division of Finance Ministry, Expatriates Welfare Ministry, Labor and Employment Ministry. The meeting also decided to avoid any kind of expenditure from migrant workers while sending money home. A high official of the  ministry of Overseas Employment Ministry  said, "More than 1 crore Bangladeshi workers are working in different countries in the world.

These people earn on an average $15 billion each year. They are helping to increase the foreign currency reserve in the country." About one million Bangladeshis work in Malaysia. In 2017-18 FY, the banking channel has received Tk 9 thousand crore from Malaysia which is only 20 percent of total remittance.

Remaining 80 percent, total Tk 36 thousand crore came illegally, according to central bank sources. The expatriates' earnings are coming from many countries in this way. After government noticed it, a delegation of Bangladesh Bank and Finance Ministry recently visited several countries in the Middle East including Malaysia and Singapore.

The delegation report shows that the expatriate workers face various troubles in sending money through banking channel. It takes more time to send money through bank or money transfer agents. It interrupts work which decreases their income. To avoid these problems, expatriates start a practice of sending money through people they know or by hundi. Both are illegal ways.

For this reason, the government is going to take initiative to send the money home without any charges. Such decision was made to encourage them sending money to  using the banking channels.  "The move has been taken to increase remittance in the country. We believe that it will encourage senders to send money through official channels instead of informal channels," said one of the Finance Ministry official.

He added, "There is no alternative of this initiative to send remittance through legal way. Even though it would cost around Tk 5-7 crores to the government per year to implement the system.  The government will have to allocate budget separately for this regard also."  This initiative was taken by the former Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith,. Now this will be implemented by new Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

Remittance flows significantly decreased in 2016 due to lower oil prices in the international market. That was the time when government took the first step to increase the remittance. But in last year remittance increased by 15 percent over 2017. In 2018 expatriates sent $15.53 billion.

Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Sirajul Islam said, "the government is going to take various initiatives to increase the flow of remittance. If these initiatives are implemented, I expect 100 percent of expatriates income will come through banking channels and legal ways."

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