Remittance a strong base of internal economic growth, says Zahid Hussain
The country received $1.639 billion in inward remittances in October this year, with the country receiving $6.188 billion in remittances in last four months of current FY, Bangladesh Bank (BB) said yesterday.
The BB data show that the volume of inward remittances grew manifold to $16.419 billion in 2018-19 financial year, from less than a billion ($763.91 million) in FY 1990-91 in a span of 30 years.
According to the BB, the country fetched $1.0 billion inward remittance for the first time in 1993-94 FY while it obtained the landmark $10.0 billion mark in 2009-10 FY.
Commenting on the surge of remittance inflow, former World Bank lead economist Zahid Hussain said Bangladesh's inward remittances had now become a strong pillar of internal economic growth for the country thanks to millions of expatriate workers.
He said the country's macroeconomic stability was largely due to farm and non-farm activities in both rural and urban areas thanks to the steady remittance inflow.
The country, however, experienced a fluctuation in remittance inflow in last few years due to volatile international labour market, he mentioned.
He cited return of a large number of workers from Saudi Arabia and closure of the market of Malaysia as new challenges for labour abundant Bangladesh that lacks skills in diversified areas.
"To remain competitive in international labour market, Bangladesh should diversify skills, and find new markets in emerging economies across Europe. Labour abundance needs to be transformed into skills abundance and it does not require big investment," he noted.
Giving example of Romania, Hungary, Poland as emerging economies, he suggested that Bangladesh should plan right now to develop skills in aspirant female workers by giving them training in the fields of nursing, medical assistance, farming and industrial skills.
He said remittance inflow was stagnant during the last several financial year (FY).
According to BB data, remittance receipt was $15.316 billion in 2014-15, which went down to $14.931 billion in 2015-16, $12.769 billion in 2016-17 and $14.981 in 2017-18. It again reached a new milestone at $16.419 billion in 2018-19.
According to BB, some 1.15 crore expatriate Bangladeshis are staying and working in different countries across the world.