Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) are now allowed to deposit foreign currency in their accounts at bank booths in airports across the country.
The central bank issued a circular in this connection on Thursday, and asked the country's all authorised dealers (AD) in foreign exchange banks to follow the latest instructions immediately.
"To bring ease in deposit process, it has been decided that bank booths operating in airports under license from Bangladesh Bank (BB) may take deposits from NRBs in foreign currency, brought in by them for crediting their foreign currency accounts or Non-resident Taka accounts (by converting foreign currency at prevailing exchange rate) maintained with AD bank branches concerned," the central bank said in the circular.
"We've relaxed our regulations to facilitate inflow of cash foreign currency, particularly the US dollar, in the banking channel," a BB senior official explained.
He also said it will help increase the flow of inward remittance in the official channel.
"The deposited foreign currency will be treated as inward remittance," he added.
Talking to the FE, another BB official said the central bank has relaxed the regulations on the basis of consultations with the banks concerned.
Besides, the NRBs may deposit foreign currency brought in by themselves in their foreign currency accounts, subject to declaration on FMJ Form in case of the amount exceeding US$ 5,000 or equivalent, according to the central banker.
He also said the bank booths will have to convert the currency into relevant foreign currency at appropriate cross currency exchange rate to take the deposit.
"It will also help minimise risk in carrying cash foreign currency by the NRBs," the central banker noted.
The BB's latest move came against the backdrop of a falling trend in inward remittance flow in the recent months due to sluggish economic activities in the Middle-East countries coupled with a rising trend in sending money by the expatriate Bangladeshis through informal channels.
The overall remittance inflow has dropped by nearly 17 per cent or US$ 1.86 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal year (FY), 2016-17, against the same period of the previous fiscal.
The remittance receipts came down to $9.19 billion during the July-March period of this FY, from $11.06 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, the latest BB data showed.
The inflow was estimated at $1.08 billion in March 2017, up by $136.69 million from that of the previous month. In February 2017, the amount stood at $940.75 million. It was $1.28 billion in March 2016.
"We're taking necessary measures to comply with the BB's instructions," an executive of a state-owned commercial bank told the FE.