It is a great piece of news that according to official data the remittance earning by our expatriate workers hit all-time high at $15.53 billion last year. Data show that the inflow of remittance hit a staggering 14.83 per cent year-on-year growth to the amount. Economists have attributed this achievement to recent appreciation of the dollar against the local currency and increased use of lawful money transfer channels.
As per the report published in this newspaper yesterday, banks have deployed representatives abroad to increase remittance through their channels. And the government streamlined the effort to guard against incoming of remittance through digital hundi, the illegal way that many remitters turned to for sending funds to the country. These steps have long been overdue to consolidate the growth of remittance inflow of the country.The rise in remittance earning is crucial for economic growth as well as macroeconomic stability of the country. But, due to the spiralling import bills against lower export earnings, many banks have been facing a shortage of foreign currency, especially US dollar, which has been contributing to the increasing current account deficit of the country that reached a record high at $9.37 billion dollars last year. This is not an indication of a sound trend of international trade. The upward growth trend of remittance earning will help reduce the country's current account deficit.
As we know, remittance earning is the second largest export earning sector after RMG. The downfall of growth of this sector means a lot for the economy and hence, it deserves special attention to flourish. The country has a lot to do to tap the huge potential in remittance earning. Bangladeshi workers are well-known for their hard-working and gentle attitude. However, though a significant number of job seekers aspire to work abroad they cannot gain the preference of foreign recruiters easily, as they fall short of technical and soft skills.
The authorities concerned should help sustain this growth trend of remittance earning and take proactive steps to make sure that Bangladesh taps the potential in full. Training for job seekers and unhindered access to information, other resources and opportunities for them is the demand of the hour. At the same time, efforts should be made for the horizontal and vertical expansion of the international job market so that more and more workers can be sent outside.