Prime Minister's ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy yesterday said the time to bring in money from abroad through hundi and corruption was almost over with the launching of the PayPal's Xoom service in the country.
He inaugurated the global online payment system at a function titled “PayPal+Xoom service and freelancer conference” in the city's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Addressing the programme, he said around 1.8 million Bangladeshi expatriates sent around $13 billion to the country in the last fiscal year. There was, however, no estimation of how much money entered Bangladesh through hundi.
Joy hoped that expatriates would no longer resort to hundi due to speedy transfer of money with PayPal, the world's largest online-based payment system.
PayPal account holders from abroad can now send up to $10,000 to Bangladesh at a time using PayPal wallet. A transaction of up to $1,000 will cost only $ 4.99, but transactions worth over $1,000 will be free of charge.
People can primarily receive the service from nine commercial banks, including Sonali, Rupali, Agrani, Uttara, Pubali and Social Islami banks.
The Xoom is PayPal's cross-border payment service. Although Xoom was a separate company earlier, PayPal bought it in 2015.
The PayPal's Xoom service will now be “inbound”, meaning money sent from abroad could be drawn in Bangladesh, but no one will be able to send money abroad.
Using this service, Bangladeshi expatriates will be able to send money home within a few hours while those involved in freelancing and outsourcing will also enjoy the facility.
About criticism of the PayPal's service, the PM's adviser said, “There're some criticisms that PayPal is not being able to deliver services fully as it is now not possible to send money abroad. It's not the failure of PayPal, rather the law of the Bangladesh Bank doesn't permit it to send money abroad.”
Joy said the incumbent Awami League government has kept the country's economy “slightly isolated” so that it is not affected if there is a global recession.
“Our policy is that money won't be sent abroad freely. But it was our government which raised the ceiling of carrying foreign currency to $10,000 for an individual while travelling abroad.”
About the government's future plan in this regard, he said there would be no such bar on movement of currency once the country's economy is developed.
The ICT expert also informed the programme that prior to the formal launch and during the test run of the Xoom service, around Tk 8 crore came to Bangladesh from abroad.
Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, chair of the programme, said it was a long-standing demand of the country's freelancers to bring money home from abroad through PayPal.
“Their demand is now fulfilled through the formal introduction of this service. Like many other countries of the world, the expatriates will now be able to send money to Bangladesh through the PayPal's Xoom service while the freelancers will be able to draw their money,” he added.
Imran Ahmed, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Posts, Telecommunications
and ICT Ministry, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir and ICT Division Secretary Subir Kishore Choudhury also spoke at the function.