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Move to boost expats' investment

Rezaul Karim | Published: July 23, 2019 09:52:54 | Updated: July 24, 2019 16:06:39


Picture used for illustrative purpose only

The government has taken a move to boost investment of Bangladeshi expatriates to help bolster the country's economy, officials said.

To this end, they said, Department of National Savings (DNS) will collect overall information about current and future investors of existing bonds to fix up strategies for increasing sales of such bonds.

The state-run entity will also conduct a beneficiary survey to identify the barriers to sales of bonds, they added.

Besides, it has planned to gear up campaign for investment in bonds among expats, arrange investment fair abroad, road show and launch dedicated website and blog platform for expats' investors and proper branding of existing bonds.

Nomination of selling management and situation, branding of bonds and other strategic issues would help strengthen monitoring.

Expatriates can invest in three bonds-Wage Earner Development Bond, US Dollar Premium Bond and US Dollar Investment Bond.

The government has plans to set up more branches/subsidiaries/exchange houses of scheduled banks as early as possible in some countries having potential sources of remittances to help Bangladeshi migrants send their hard-earned foreign currencies smoothly.

"The government has started discussion considering opening fully retail banking in the USA, UK, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and Greece to increase the inflow of remittance as the countries are very important source of remittance earnings for Bangladesh," a finance ministry high official said.

Besides, Mauritius, Egypt, Libya and Lebanon are going to become vital sources of remittance earnings for Bangladesh. "We have recently discussed the issue to establish more banks' branches/legal agencies in those countries, if necessary, for sending remittance by Bangladeshi expatriates," he mentioned.

He added: "We have also discussed ways to increase banks' branches/agents/collection points to facilitate remittance back home free of cost by migrants."

Industry insiders said some state-run exchange houses abroad incur loss every year. For this, opening of new exchange houses abroad with approval of the central bank will be loss-making branches, they added.

The government and Bangladesh Bank (BB) have taken various regulatory and institutional measures to boost the flow of remittances through formal channel.

The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment launched various projects under the Annual Development Programme of fiscal year 2016-17, according to the BB data.

"To speed up remittance inflow and distribution, the approval mechanism of drawing arrangements among Bangladeshi banks and foreign exchange houses has been simplified. Presently, 1,142 drawing arrangements are active and playing an important role in bringing remittance to Bangladesh, the data, prepared in January 2019, showed.

Establishment of exchange houses/branch offices abroad by local banks has been approved. A total of 34 exchange houses/branch offices/representative offices of different local banks are operating in different countries such as UK, USA, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Greece, Italy, Canada, Oman and Maldives, according to the data.

Presently, KSA, UAE, USA, Kuwait, Malaysia, UK, Oman, Qatar, Italy, Bahrain, Singapore, South Africa, France, Jordan and South Korea were largest sources of remittance among 30 nations in FY 2019, according to the BB data.

Besides, remittance earnings from Egypt and Libya by Bangladeshi overseas workers have also increased in recent times.

Inward remittance hit an all-time high of US$ 16.41 billion in the just-concluded fiscal year. The country received US$ 14981.69 million in remittance in the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18.

Presently, Bangladeshi overseas workers in Saudi Arabia, UK, US, Malaysia and UAE are facing setbacks while remitting their hard-earned money due to inadequate number of agent points in their destination countries.

The regulator is working sincerely to take required steps to set up an adequate number of agent points in those major sources of remittance-earning countries for Bangladesh.

rezamumu@gmail.com

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