Urging the World Bank for its continued support, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today said despite predictions of a decrease in remittance worldwide, Bangladesh had received the highest ever payments in the country's history.
The USD 18.2 billion in remittance in 2019-2020 was the highest ever and it was achieved due to the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the hard-working citizens of the country, both at home and abroad, he said.
Considering Covid-19 impacts, World Bank and others had feared a fall in remittance, but this was allayed as inward remittances in Bangladesh have shown an upward trend, Mustafa Kamal said in a statement released by the finance ministry.
During the first quarter of fiscal year 2020-2021, inward remittances were recorded at 6.71 billion USD -- 49% higher than the same quarter of the previous year, he said.
The minister pointed out the 2% direct cash incentive policy as playing a major role in the increase.
Mustafa Kamal also said that although the outbreak of Covid-19 led to the return of 1,95,698 expats by October 15, this was not worrying considering that in the same period "2,84,000 expats had returned abroad… which is 26% higher than the same period last year."
The finance minister also pointed out several government initiatives which were undertaken for migrant workers. These included social protection programmes, such as USD 1.3 million worth food stamp programme for returnee expats during the coronavirus-induced closures in April and May.
He also highlighted the USD 83 million budgeted rehabilitation programmes for those who lost their jobs abroad.
"In the current fiscal year the government allocated BDT 2,000 crore, equivalent to USD 240 million, for a specific social protection targeting the future potential expat workers. Employment generation programmes will be implemented through four specialised banks. The objective of the programme is to facilitate the potential workers to get overseas job smoothly in a faster way for overcoming the COVID-19 shock," he said in the statement.
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