Though millions of Bangladeshi migrant workers toiling abroad due to the Covid-19 crisis and fall in oil prices, crisis-ridden expatriates are still providing oxygen for economy by continuing to send remittances at home.
Market analysts said expatriate workers have continued to send money to their homes to meet family expenses despite the fact that they have been suffering from various crises including financial constraints due to coronavirus pandemic.
Currently many expatriate workers don’t have money in their hands as they could not work for a long period of time due to the lockdown, but they borrowed money for sending them to their families, they added.
The migrant workers have been sending money through different channels including banks, mobile banking and NGOs.
Expatriates have sent $16.36 billion during July-May in current fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020 amid Covid-19 crisis, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
This figure was 8.72 percent higher over the same period of previous fiscal.
The remittance stood at $15.05 billion duringJuly-May inlast fiscal.
However, Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $1.60 billion in July, $1.44 billion in August, $1.48 billion in September, $1.64 billion in October, $1.55 billion in November and $1.69 billion in December in 2019 as well as $1.64 billion in January, $1.45 billion in February, $1.28 billion in March, $1.09 billion in April and $1.50 billion in May in 2020 respectively.
A central bank official said, “The remittance is known as the best indicator of the economy of Bangladesh, but it has decreased due to the virus pandemic for the last several months.”
Currently many countries have relaxed lockdown which has helped to raise remittance inflow in the country, he added.“Expatriates in the Middle East are still sending money to support their families at home”, he said.
He expects this flow will continue in upcoming months as many countries of the world are returning to normalcy by relaxing the lockdown.
Eminent economist Zahid Hussain told The Bangladesh Post, that “Bangladesh expatriates have faced many challenges abroad as coronavirus has broken down all activities of the world.”
He further said most of the unskilled workers of Bangladesh who mostly work in the Middle-East are in fear of losing their jobs as many companies have temporarily been closed while many small businessmen have been passing critical time due to the virus pandemic.
Although expatriates had faced several problems in the wake of a fall in oil prices, remittance got back its momentum within the shortest of time due to a steady outflow of migrant workers, he added.
Remittance has been leading a silent economic revolution in Bangladesh since its independence as it has contributed a lot to make economy vibrant, he mentioned.
Remittance has also strengthened the country's foreign exchange reserve to a great extent, he said.
Hussain said the government should take a new plan for the expatriates to overcome the bad situation and give proper training to create skilled manpower to boost the remittance inflow.