Coronavirus Outbreak: Remittance inflow to be hit hard

Anisul Islam Noor

29th March, 2020 02:47:06 printer

Coronavirus Outbreak: Remittance inflow to be hit hard

The Coronavirus outbreak will affect the country’s remittance and manpower export as most remittance-sending countries are battling the global pandemic.

Experts said the adverse global effect of Coronavirus pandemic will affect Bangladesh’s migrant workers and their income in Saudi Arabia, UAE, United States, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Oman, Malaysia, Qatar, Italy and the rest of Europe.

Bangladesh Bank data show that Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $1.07 billion in the first 19 days of March. Inward remittance stood at $380 million in the first week of March, which soared to $420 million in the second week, but dropped to $260 million in the third week of March.

Remittance is feared to drop in the next few weeks and months.

Currently, Bangladesh receives the highest volume of remittance from Saudi Arabia, followed by UAE, United States, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Oman, Malaysia, Qatar, Italy, Bahrain and South Korea. Other remittance-sending countries include Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Germany. But most of Bangladesh’s remittance hotshots are facing catastrophic impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic. 

The country’s remittance inflow has been increasing every month since the government announced cash incentives on remittance transfers. But inward remittance started to fall from February from the onset of the global pandemic.

Inward remittance stood $1.6 billion in January and $1.4 billion in February this year. In the first eight months of the current fiscal year (July-February), Bangladesh fetched $12.5 billion in remittances, which is around 20 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.

Salim Reza, secretary of the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment (EWOE) ministry, told the Daily Sun, “We expected that remittance income will cross $20 billion this year but the Coronavirus situation may hinder this prospect.”

The country’s inward remittance stood at more than $18 billion in 2019, which was 16.2 per cent higher than that of 2018.

Bangladesh sent 701,000 workers abroad with jobs in 2019. Of them, 111,000 were women workers. Among the workers, 44 per cent was skilled and 22 per cent semi-skilled. This year, the government targeted to send abroad more than 750,000 workers.

This year the government has plans to send workers to new destinations and already started sending workers to some new countries including Seychelles, Herzegovina and China.

But the Covid 19 pandemic will affect the target, Salim Reza said.