Money transactions through mobile financial services dropped by 27 per cent in April compared with that of the previous month mainly due to the imposition of shutdown and subsequent stagnation in economic activities amid coronavirus outbreak in the country.
According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, transactions through MFS slid to Tk 29,029 crore in April from Tk 39,785 crore in the previous month.
The first coronavirus cases were detected in the country on March 8.
As the virus was spreading, the government announced general holidays and imposed restrictions on movement from March 29 to halt the spike.
The country went into holidays for around two months, ending on May 30, resulting in stagnation in economic activities.
As a result, daily average transactions through the payment gateways also dropped to Tk 968 crore in April this year from Tk 1,283 crore in March.
Company secretary of United Commercial Bank, parent entity of MFS UCash, ATM Tahmiduzzaman told New Age that almost all the businesses had faced downward trend during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
MFS operators also faced setback during the pandemic, he said.
There were no merchant payments as the shopping malls were closed, collection for business entities’ distribution channel and payments against police cases dropped as the people’s movement was very limited during the general holidays, Tahmiduzzaman said.
Besides, payment of utility bills was almost closed as the government suspended collection, he said.
He said MFS transactions by RMG workers and other labourers, who send money home, dropped as many of them left Dhaka to their villages during the pandemic, while money sending by the family members of university students to them also dropped as the organisations remained closed during the period.
Apart from the transaction value, the number of daily average transactions declined by 7.8 per cent in April.
In April, the number of transactions was 21.76 crore against 23.58 crore in the previous month.
The number of registered clients of MFS operators, however, increased by 3.1 per cent to 8.51 crore in April from 8.26 crore in the previous month as many of the garment workers opened MFS accounts to receive wages.
The number of active MFS subscribers increased by 4.9 per cent to 2.81 crore in April from 2.68 crore in March.
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus and limited movement of people, the remittance inflow through MFS increased significantly to Tk 112.38 crore in April from Tk 31.63 crore in the previous month.
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