Inward remittance dropped by 17.83 per cent to $3.23 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year of 2016-2017 compared with that of $3.93 billion in the same period of last fiscal year as its inflow dropped for the third consecutive month in September.
Senior bank officials suspect that the inflow of remittance decreased as many expatriate Bangladeshis opted to send their money to the country through illegal channels because of a lower rate of the dollar against the taka in the banking sector.
The inflow of remittance in September declined to $1.04 billion from $1.34 billion in the same month a year ago, contradicting with the usual trend before an Eid festival, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.
This year Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals for the Muslims, was celebrated on September 13.
The monthly inward remittance in July and August also posted disappointing figures of $1.00 billion and $1.18 billion respectively, down from $1.38 billion and $1.19 billion in the corresponding two months of the FY 2015-16.
The remittance inflow in FY16 decreased to $14.92 billion from $15.31 billion in FY15.
Meghna Bank managing director Mohammed Nurul Amin told New Age on Monday that the trend in inward remittance in August and September was not fitting as the non-resident Bangladeshis usually sent more remittances ahead of Eid.
He said, ‘I suspect remittance is now entering into the country through illegal channels like “hundi”. Traders involved in the illegal business were highly active in recent months and the exchange rate of the US dollar against the taka was higher in the illegal market than that in the banking sector.’
Amin, also a former president of Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, said that the relatives of NRBs had received more exchange rates in the illegal channel, so the expatriates sent the greenbacks through the ‘hundi’ system.
Some banks have recently closed their exchange houses in different countries that might also put an adverse impact on the inward remittances, he said.
A BB official said hundi put a huge negative impact on the foreign exchange market as the country was deprived of getting greenbacks due to the illegal system.
Former interim government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam told New Age on Monday that the exchange rate between the US dollar and the taka maintained a stable rate for long in the banking sector.
‘The apparent exchange rate will be lower if we count the inflation rate, so the NRBs might send their hard-earned money through the illegal channel’, he said.
Besides, the Middle East countries, where a large number of Bangladeshi expatriates are working, have been facing a dull business for the last few years as the global price of petroleum declined, he said.
According to the BB data, in September the private commercial banks received $712.12 million in inward remittance, while the state-run commercial banks got $308.95 million, foreign commercial banks $10.94 million, and specialised development banks $11 million.
In September, Islami Bank Bangladesh received the highest amount of remittance — $252.58 million — among the private commercial banks, while Agrani Bank got the highest amount — $113.90 million — among the state-run banks.
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