Mobile banking main reason for remittance fall: BB probe

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka | Published: 02:09, Apr 12,2017

 
 

A file photo shows bkash billboard installed on a shop in Dhaka. Bangladesh Bank investigation teams have identified informal channels, including mobile banking, as the major reasons for downward trend in country’s remittance inflow. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Bank (BB) investigation teams have identified informal channels, including mobile banking, as the major reasons for downward trend in country’s remittance inflow.
‘Non-Residence Bangladeshis (NRBs) are using informal channels for sending their money home due to various reasons, including easy procedures and no procedural cost,’ a BB official told the news agency on Tuesday.
‘I think, mobile banking alone is 50 per cent responsible for the remittance falling trend,’ he added.
Mentioning the anti-money laundering activities in different countries as a reason to choose the informal channels, he said illegal workers cannot send their money through the formal channel.
As the falling trend of the inflow of remittances is becoming a matter of concern for the country, two teams of experts of BB went to Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia in March to find out the reasons behind the declining trend of remittances.
BB economic adviser M Akhtaruzzaman led a three-member team and general manager of BB governor’s secretariat M Habibur Rahman led another three-member team.
The BB official said the two teams have already finalised their reports, which would be submitted to the governor soon.
Talking about the reports, the official said, low oil price is one of the reasons of the declining trend of remittance inflow.
‘The earnings of NRBs are lower than before as the economic conditions of the countries concerned are not very good,’ he added.
He said the falling currency rate against dollar and low oil prices have also hit the incomes of the workers in the Middle Eastern countries where most of the Bangladeshi migrants work.
The BB official said, different recommendations will be made in the reports to check the informal channels.
He said BB, the Bangladesh embassies in different remittance hub countries and the home ministry can take some steps, including strengthening monitoring on mobile banking, through law enforcement agencies to check the informal channels.
He said banks should not go for long holidays during festivals as NRBs send huge remittance at those times.
According to BB, Bangladesh received $1,660.16 million in remittances from Saudi Arabia, $823.20 million from Malaysia and $227.57 million from Singapore for the first nine months of FY17.
But inward remittance maintained a sluggish trend from the very beginning of FY17 and the country received a total of $9,194.51 million in the first nine months of FY17 though the amount was $11,059.68 million during the same period of FY16.
In March 2017, the country received $1,077.44 million while the amount was $1,285.59 million in March 2016.

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