Remittance slowdown: BB prods banks on improving services

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 16 Jun 2017, 00:29:05

Remittance slowdown: BB prods banks on improving services

Siddique Islam

The central bank has asked the commercial banks to take measures for improving the quality of remittance services so that the Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) send their hard-earned money home through formal channel.

The banks have been instructed to open a 'help desk' for ensuring better services at each of their branches those deal with the remittance.

The banks will have to ensure providing information on remittance to the beneficiaries with priority, according to a notification issued by Bangladesh Bank (BB) Thursday.

"We've taken the move to attract the NRBs so that they send money through banking channel instead of the illegal 'hundi' system and help boost the country's foreign exchange reserve," a senior official of BB told the FE.

He said the central bank issued the directives a day before of the International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) to be celebrated across the world on June 16.

The IDFR aims at recognising the significance of financial contribution of migrant workers to the wellbeing of their families back home and the sustainable development of their countries of origin.

It is also to encourage the public and private sectors as well as the civil society to do more and collaborate to maximise the impact of these funds in the developing world.

The banks have been advised to open a separate book to record allegations by  the beneficiaries and submit fortnightly reports to the Foreign Exchange Policy Department of the BB

The reports will have mentions about actions taken by the banks against the allegations, according to the notification.

The banks have also been instructed to inform the NBRs about all types of investment opportunities for them and to build awareness among the people about the advantages of sending remittances through the banking channels.

The BB's latest move came against the backdrop of decreasing inward remittances in the recent months.

It happened due to a sluggish trend in economic activities in the Middle-Eastern countries along with a rising trend of sending remittance through informal channels, according to the BB officials.

The overall remittance inflow dropped by 14.19 per cent or US$ 1.91 billion in the first 11 months of this fiscal year (FY), 2016-17, against the same period of the previous fiscal.

The remittance receipts came down to $11.55 billion during the July-May period of this FY from $13.46 billion in the same period of the last FY, the BB data showed.

"We're now working on increasing the flow of inward remittance through taking innovative measures," another BB official said, without elaborating.
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