The government high-ups and the top commercial bankers today urged expatriate Bangladeshis to send their money through the legal channel instead of using hundi – an illegal cross-border money transfer network.
Sending money through the banking channel will insulate the foreign exchange reserves, which is now facing a decreasing trend, they said at the Bangladesh Bank Remittance Award given to the top remitters during the period of 2019-20.
The rise in import payments because of global price hikes has hit the reserves, they said.
The event was held at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh in the capital where Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was present as the chief guest.
Abu Farah Md Nasser, a deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, said the foreign exchange reserve had decreased to some extent after settling the import payments to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU).
The migrant workers should come forward to improve the volume of the reserves, he said.
The reserves stood at $41.9 billion on May 11 in contrast to $46.15 billion on December 31 last year.
Earlier in May this year, the country cleared a import payment of $2.24 billion of the nine member countries of the ACU.
Fazle Kabir, governor of the BB, said the country’s trade gap stood at $24 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal year when current account deficit stood at $14 billion.
After settling the import payments to ACU, the reserve is now hovering around $42 billion, which is satisfactory, he said.
Although remittances have been maintaining a downward trend in recent months, the inflow may surpass $20 billion at the end of this fiscal year, he said.
The finance minister said the reserve had recently declined as commodity prices increased due to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The inflow of remittance should be increased, he said, adding that remitters should use the legal channel to send their hard-earned money to the country.
“The money that went abroad will come back to the country as the interest rate on deposit in foreign nations is now negative,” he said.