There has been a gradual change in the share of remittance flows by regions shifting the focus from the Middle East to the East Asia, Europe and the North America, UNB reports. Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman made the observation while addressing the opening of ‘NRB World Conference Series 2015’ at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
For instance, he said, Malaysia has become the fourth largest remittance source country for Bangladesh. Centre for NRB organised the function with its president Shekil Chowdhury in the chair. It was addressed, among others, by Prime Minister’s advisors Dr Gawher Rizvi, HT Imam, Economic Chief of US Embassy in Dhaka, CPD Executive Director Prof Dr Mustafizur Rahman, Chairman of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and Pubali Bank Hafiz Ahmed Majumder.
Referring to the World Bank, Dr Atiur said Bangladesh ranked 7th on the list of remittance recipient country across the world in 2013 as millions of NRB (Non-resident Bangladeshis) now working abroad in almost 157 countries. In FY2014, the remittance accounted for 66 percent of foreign reserve while it was almost 9 times of the current account balance in the same fiscal year.
As per government statistics, he said, nearly 2.35 million workers have migrated in the last five years. In 2014, the remittance inflow was 14.94 billion. “Obviously, we must give credit to NRBs for attaining this strength and external stability. The stability of exchange rate is an incentive.” He said the government is contemplating introducing a pension scheme for expatriate Bangladeshis which will benefit millions of them as well as attract more foreign investment. “If every NRB contributes five dollars, there’ll be a billion-dollar fund for the scheme,” he added.
Dr Atiur also informed that a social security scheme is being planned for the welfare of NRBs, which will be run by the central bank. “The government will only regulate the new social scheme,” he added. The scheme will run alongside the ‘US Dollar Bond’ that is already in place for the NRBs.
The central bank governor also noted that remittance inflow has always been gender biased representing the woman a little. However, there is a notable change in this tradition as the number of female expatriates is growing remarkably. This trend added a new dimension to the NRB portfolio.
The governor said Bangladesh Bank has been making its all-out efforts to ensure the inflow of remittance through the proper banking channel in an easy and hassle-free way. To ensure this, he said, the Bangladesh Bank has established a separate department, titled ‘Financial Integrity and Customer Interest Protection Department’ to handle any complaints and suggestions by the customers or any stakeholders at home and abroad to ensure the smooth and hassle-free services. There is a hotline, 16236, to address customers’ hassle, if any.
Dr Atiur assured the NRBs of properly addressing any of their complaints received through the central bank. “At the moment no bank can take more than two days in distributing the remittance to the designated beneficiaries,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Gowher Rizvi said Bangladesh has made extraordinary progress over the years in the field of economy and other social sectors, especially power and energy, health, education, and agriculture sector. He urged all to work together to build the country’s positive image abroad.