Remittance inflow drops by 12pc in March

According to Bangladesh Bank data, the remittance dropped to $1.29 billion from $1.46 billion in March. The country received $1.69 billion in December the last, which declined further to $1.64 and $1.45 billion in January and February respectively.

Experts predict the inflow would decrease further in the coming days as coronavirus has brought the economic activities almost to a standstill around the world including the Middle East countries where most of the Bangladeshi migrants work.

Policy Research Institute’s (PRI) executive director Ahsan H Mansur told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh economy would be hit hard as the overseas labour market has been adversely affected.

Only the large scale government’s intervention can save country’s economy, the economist noted.

Ahsan H Mansur believes incentives in the budget and the effective measures from the central bank are required to tackle the crisis.

Remittance houses and banks have been shut in the countries to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Bangladesh usually receives large portion of remittance from these countries.

Bangladesh’s top 15 sources of remittance are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, US, Kuwait, UK, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Italy, Bahrain, Singapore, South Africa, France, South Korea and Jordan.

Among these countries, Saudi Arabia has already shut international flights. Bangladesh embassy in UAE and consulate general of Dubai have been temporarily shut. The number of coronavirus affected people is skyrocketing in US forcing top retailers such as Walmart to either close their sales center or cut their work time.

Remittance houses and banks in Italy have been totally shut as the number of deaths is the highest among the European countries.

The government in the current fiscal has started giving two per cent cash incentive on money remitted by expatriate Bangladeshis, which helped increase in remittance inflow. But the coronavirus has now struck one of the main sources of income.

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