Bangladesh posted strong remittance earnings to the tune of US$ 8,312.15 million in the first seven months of the current fiscal 2017-18, which is 15.83 per cent higher than the corresponding period of the preceding year. The country has every reason to rejoice at this surge in remittance inflow because this vital lifeline of the economy revived after suffering over the last couple of years due to unrest and upheaval in the global market.
The rise in remittance flow is being attributed to the central bank’s initiative to bring the foreign currency through the legal channel, comparatively better political stability and increased trend in the price of US dollar against taka. Similarly, the lifting of the freeze on taking in Bangladeshi expatriate workers by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Malaysia helped matters substantially.However, the biggest applause goes to the expatriate workers who are remitting their hard-earned money home. The government also did a commendable job in coming up with a strategy to send workers under state arrangement to several destinations at considerably low migration cost.
Taken together, Bangladesh emerged as one of the top 10 remittance-recipient countries in the world, according to the World Bank. Though the Middle East is the largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers, some countries of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are emerging as attractive destinations for Bangladeshi workers.
Still, there are much more needs to be done to boost our manpower export capacity, to improve skills of our workforce and to ensure wellbeing of the expatriate workers.
Remittance from Bangladeshis working abroad and earnings from the export of readymade garment are the country’s most reliable source of foreign currencies. Thanks to the enormous contribution of these working class people, who are often exploited, we can boast of having a fat foreign exchange reserve. But their relentless struggle and hardship is often overlooked.
Very often we receive information about exploitation and harassment of our expatriate workers. The RMG sector is an arena of almost never ending crisis. Considering the enormous importance of these two sectors for the economy, the authorities concerned are expected to manage these sectors in the best possible manner.