Inflow of remittances that witnessed a sluggish trend in recent months is picking up again as expatriates sent home USD807.77 million in the first 19 days of May, which is USD115.76 million up from the same period of the previous month, according to Bangladesh Bank (BB) data. The country received USD692 million till April 19, the BB statistics show. "The recent flow of remittances indicates that it is gradually increasing and this trend is likely to continue in the upcoming months," Bangladesh Bank chief spokesperson Subhankar Shah said. According to the central bank, the country received USD1.00947 billion as remittance in January and USD940.75 million in February 2017, but it witnessed a rising trend from March as migrant workers sent home USD1077.52 million in March and USD1092.64 in April respectively. Bangladesh Bank attributed such upward trend of remittance inflow to the measures taken by the government, the central bank and mobile banking operators. "It is a good sign that inflow of remittances is coming back to positive trend," said Shah, also the executive director of the central bank. "Some Non Residence Bangladeshis (NRBs) are using informal channel, including mobile banking, for sending their money home," he said.
Besides, the falling currency rate against dollar and low oil prices have hit the incomes of the Middle Eastern countries where most of the Bangladeshi migrants work, he added. Shah said Bangladesh Bank has already sent letters to the Bangladesh missions abroad for taking steps to stop illegal bKash or Rocket agents from sending money to Bangladesh through informal channels. He also said mobile banking operators are also appointing lawyers to fight the illegal agents abroad. Two investigation teams of Bangladesh Bank visited Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Malaysia in March to find out the reasons behind the downward trend in country's remittance inflow. During the visit of the teams, they found that Non-Resident Bangladeshis are using informal channels for sending their money home for various reasons, including easy procedures and no additional costs. Mentioning the anti-money laundering activities in different countries as another reason to choose the informal channels by remitters, shah said illegal workers cannot send their money home through the formal channels. Shah also said the government has set a plan to ease the remittance procedures to make the sector more vibrant for the country's economy.