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Double-pronged plans underway to augment remittances

Published : 27 Nov 2019 09:05 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 05:30 PM

With Bangladeshi expatriates across the globe playing a major role in the growth of country’s economy through sending remittances, the government has devised double-pronged plans to augment sending more workers abroad and hence increasing the flow of remittances.
As part of the government’s initiatives to improve labour market abroad, the double-edge plans are creation of newer labour markets abroad and expansion of the existing ones..

As most of the expatriates are not educated enough they often face severe hurdles in sending their hard-earned money to the country. In this context, experts said, they would be freed from all harassment and humiliation in sending money to their homeland, if they are facilitated with adequate digital supports.

Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told The Bangladesh Post: “The government has undertaken various initiatives to create newer labour markets as well as to expand the existing ones.” Observing that the government is looking for newer labour markets to increase the remittances, he said, “Bangladesh government has already taken various steps to provide digital facilities to expatriates.” Reminding all about the government’s thrust on 'Economic Diplomacy', Momen said the government is examining the prospects of exploring new labor markets in 77 countries.

The government has taken various initiatives to enable Bangladeshi workers to travel freely in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Qatar. The foreign minister said currently, 20 labour wings are operating in different countries. More labour wings will be opened in some other countries, he added. More than 2 million men and women are joining the labour market every year in the country, the senior diplomat added.

He also said, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Kuwait account for 55 percent of the country's total remittances. Every migrant worker will be imparted training on various subjects, including language, computer, personality development and car driving. Of the remittances, Saudi Arabia contributes the highest amount of $ 26.5 million, which is about 9.5 percent of the total remittance. $20 billion comes from the United Arab Emirates. Remittances from the United States have reached $20 million. Over the last financial year, expatriates’ income increased to $1.2 billion. Foreign reserves have risen to $8.2 billion due to large amount of  expatriates’ income. By comparison, foreign exchange reserves have risen more than 10 times over that period.

Experts have advocated for reducing expenditure on remittance of expatriates, improving remittance-sending branches and exchange houses abroad, strengthening arrangement of banks-financial institutions with the help of local banks of the countries and encouraging to send remittances through the expatriate welfare bank.

The public tendency to migration has changed a bit. Many are leaving the country with training on technical education, language, computers and driving etc. The expatriates include doctors, engineers, teachers and degree holders in vocational education. At present, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is putting a lot of emphasis on three things to implement the government's development framework.

These include economic diplomacy, public diplomacy and increasing the quality of service for indigenous citizens abroad. The main goal of economic diplomacy is to increase investment, increase export trade and increase its scope and destinations. It also aims to usher in new horizons to send more manpower abroad.