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Actual remittances double than official one
[Source: News Source: UNB; published at Priyo News, Hisham Bin Mustafa on February 7, 2013]

The amount of remittance is almost double than what it is officially shown, as it stood at nearly US$ 22 billion in the last fiscal, said eminent economist Abul Barkat on Wednesday. “The amount of remittance exceeded US$ 20 billion in recent years,” he told the inaugural function of a workshop.

Barkat referred to a recent World Bank study that claims remittances could be as much as 50 percent higher than the official record if the remittances sent through informal channels are included.

The consultation workshop, titled ‘Building Knowledge-base and Promoting Rights of the Bangladeshi Workers on the Move’, was organised by Human Development Research Centre (HDRC) at Biam auditorium.

According to the central bank, remittance by migrant workers of the country amounted to US$ 12.84 billion in the fiscal 2011-12. The country’s earning from remittance sent by the migrant workers last year occupied almost half of the total remittance earned by 48 least developed countries (LDCs), revealed a United Nations Conference on Trade and Commerce Development (UNCTAD) report published on November 26 last year.

Barkat, also the chairman of Janata Bank, called on the government and non-government financial institutions to try to flock the unrecognized contribution of the migrant workers into the formal channel through facilitating specialized money transfer services to the workers in a bid to better utilize their earning. He also stressed that the government to shoulder more responsibility in ensuring smooth and safe migration. Referring to incidents of capsizes in the sea as migration aspirants are risking their lives to get to the shore of a foreign country in search of better livelihood, he said: “They’re crossing the sea on boats. They’re in a spirited struggle to change their lives. If the state comes to know about the incidents, which I think is well known by this time, it has to respond.”

In his keynote presentation, he recommended the government work on a comprehensive mechanism to reduce the cost of migration as well as enable the country to tap potential manpower markets in European and African countries. Barkat noted that in addition to the conventional manpower markets in the Middle Eastern and East Asian countries, there looms a big potential of sending Bangladeshi workers in the European and African countries.

“Certain European countries with high economic growth are expecting decline of labor force. Bangladesh has the capacity to meet the requirement for labour in many countries,” he said, adding that the extremely low density of population in many African countries also opens up a corridor for sending labour in that region. Germany alone will be in the shortage of 30 lakh workers to keep up the momentum of its economic growth, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Khandker Mossharraf Hossain also urged privatecommercial banks dealing with the transfer of money from abroad to focus on how to facilitate the migrant workers more. “At present, the private banks are not providing service to the migrant workers at it is expected,” he said.

Chaired by Abul Barkat, the inaugural session of the workshop was also addressed by Secretary of the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Jafar Ahmed Khan and Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) director general Shamsun Nahar.

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