Overall, it has not been a good year for remittances.
While it is true that last month saw an uptick in remittance flow, mainly attributable to an appreciated US dollar against the taka, the big picture is still that of a downward trend.
It is imperative that the government do all it can to boost remittance, otherwise meeting our highly ambitious growth target for the year will be a far cry.
For starters, the migrant portal is an excellent initiative to help migrants and prospective migrants access information, making the whole process easier, cheaper, and most importantly, safer and hopefully free of harassment from unscrupulous middlemen.
Remittances are the biggest source of foreign currency in Bangladesh, and there is no way to overstate their importance -- as such reducing the cost, both monetary and non-monetary, of sending remittance is crucial.
A healthy stream of remittance would go a long way in helping Bangladesh meet its growth target, which the World Bank is already criticising as unrealistic.
A positive loop could be generated by developing the skills of migrant workers: Compared to other migrant exporting countries, Bangladesh has one of the least skilled migrant workers so it is high time to catch up.
India, which leads in terms of total inflow of remittances -- not a surprise since its population is gigantic in comparison -- has many more professional and highly skilled migrant workers, especially in OECD countries.
They were able to achieve that by wisely investing in human capital, and there is a lesson for Bangladesh to be learned there.