The role of inward remittance in the life of millions of families, particularly living in rural areas, and in the country's overall balance of payments (BoP) cannot be overemphasised. This is why any notable increase or decrease in the inflow of remittance does always hit the newspaper headlines. A report carried in the Tuesday's issue of the FE is a case in point. The higher inflow of remittance money on the eve of the just-celebrated Eid festival was the moot point highlighted in the report. The inflow of remittance routinely goes up on the occasions of two Eids as millions of Bangladeshi migrant workers send higher amounts of money back home to help their near and dear ones celebrate the important religious festivals.
How important the remittance money is to developing countries like Bangladesh has again been highlighted by none other than a UN organisation named the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The UN body in a press statement issued last week said that out of remittance worth US$ 481 billion sent by an estimated 200 million migrant workers in 2017, US$ 466 billion went to the developing countries. And the remittance money means a lot to the recipient countries in terms of ensuring the stability of their BOP positions and the sustenance of millions of poor families, mainly living in rural areas.
The IFAD statement estimated that remittances worth US$ 6.5 trillion would be sent to developing countries between 2015 and 2030, involving over 1.0 billion senders and receivers. The head of this UN body, however, laid emphasis on continued efforts to help remittance-receiving families build sustainable future for themselves and their communities. This is an issue that has been highlighted time and again in Bangladesh also at various forums.
It is roughly estimated that nearly 75 per cent of the money sent by the migrant workers and non-resident Bangladeshis back home to their close relatives is spent on meeting basic needs and repayment of loans. Since the families of most remitters are poor, they have no option but to spend money on meeting day-to-day expenses. However, these families often invest funds rather imprudently without being concerned about their future sustenance. Yet remittances, according to IFAD analysis, do help reduce hunger and malnutrition, improve education and health levels and lift people out of poverty.
Undeniably, remittances do contribute directly to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the international community three years back. But the size of the contribution would be even greater if steps were taken to ensure proper use of remittance money by the recipient families. Many migrant workers, on their return from the workplaces, very often find them in deep financial troubles just because of imprudent use of remitted funds. Since most of the families of migrant workers are poor and uneducated, they, in most cases, fail to make right use of funds. Thus, it remains an important job for the government to educate the migrant workers and their families about the proper use of funds. The authorities can as well devise some attractive tools for mandatory investment by the migrant workers.
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