Published at: The Daily Star, March 03, 2019
Introduction of a minimum incentive for the remitters would play a huge role in curbing the use of illegal money transfer system and bringing all the remittance through legal channels, analysts said yesterday.
“The remittance flow will increase significantly if digital hundi is stopped,” said SM Shekil Chowdhury, chairperson of the Centre for NRB.
Bangladesh Bank can play a significant role in this regard, said the official of the not-for-profit research-based organisation dedicated to the welfare of non-resident Bangladeshis. A little bit of incentive would encourage the remitters to use the legal channels to send money home, said Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam, managing director of Agrani Bank.
They spoke at the inauguration of the World Conference Series 2019 on “Responsible Citizen-Prosperous Country” organised by the Centre for NRB at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.
A total of $15.54 billion came in as remittance in 2018 while export earnings were $39 billion in the last fiscal year.
Of the total export earnings, 68 percent would be used to make import payments whereas remittance is deposited to the national account directly, Chowdhury said.
At the programme, Planning Minister MA Mannan said the government was sincere to recognise the contribution of the non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) for the country’s growth.
“Workers in the agriculture and industrial sectors and the NRBs are the foundation of the country’s economy. So, our duty is to recognise their contribution,” he said.
Around 1.4 crore Bangladeshis living abroad send only $15.5 billion in remittance every year, which is very low compared to that of India and the Philippines, said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
He, however, appreciated the initiative of the government for establishment of training centres in order to develop skilled workforce to boost remittance earnings.
Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, said they were ready to help the NRBs to invest in Bangladesh.
“The government is creating an investment-friendly environment.”
Mohammed Saidul Islam, director general of the national identification registration wing of the Bangladesh Election Commission; Osama Taseer, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ayas Miah, speaker of the Council of London Tower Hamlets, and CQK Mustaq Ahmed, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, also spoke.
The NRB Centre will organise 12 conferences in India, Malaysia, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Europe, Australia, Bangladesh, the UK and the US this year.