Remittances keep growing | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 10, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 10, 2009

Editorial

Remittances keep growing

Maintain the trend at any cost

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The just-concluded calendar year, despite the ongoing global financial meltdown, has yielded an upbeat note on remittances from Bangladeshi wage earners abroad. These have posted $8.22billion topping $6.55billion the year before and are headed to cross the $10billion mark by the end of the current financial year. This is a big bounty compared with $2billion in 2000. The graphic rise in the export of manpower is illustrated by the statistics that whereas 3.81lakh workers had gone out of the country in 2006, the present figure is close to nine lakh.
This is an altogether impressive achievement when viewed in the context of various adversities faced by our workers abroad in the shape of breach of job contracts, deceitful conduct of employment agencies and other extreme circumstances like deportation or layoffs. Even on their return home at the airport or elsewhere, they are not treated with courtesy commensurate with their contributions to the economy.
There is a strong feeling that with greater dynamism and facilitation from the foreign ministry, expatriate welfare ministry and our overseas missions, manpower export could be diversified, especially at a time when the traditional labour markets are likely to face a crunch if the global recession lingers.
So far the news on this count has been good. Remittance from Saudi Arabia still tops the list with 29.9 per cent of the earnings posted from July to October 2008-09 fiscal followed by USA's 17.4 per cent. The other major sources of remittance growth have been UAE, Kuwait and Malaysia.
One can take heart from the CPD's assessment that the financial meltdown is not likely to hit the Middle Eastern economies as severely as the West. But it would affect them all the same to some degree. Rather than resting on the oars of such readings, therefore, we must be prepared with a fallback strategy to sustain the export trends both for our manpower and garment sectors, the two major pillars of macro-economic stability in the country.

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