Bangladeshi expatriates remit record $24.77bn in FY21 amid pandemic

Bangladesh’s inward remittances have hit a record of over $24.77 billion in fiscal year 2020-21 with the global economy recovering from the swirling effects of the coronavirus pandemic amid outbreaks and lockdowns.

The remittances sent by expatriate workers in the last financial year marked a robust 36.1 percent year-on-year rise from $18.2 billion in 2019-20.

The country received over $1.94 billion in June, up by 5.9 percent from the same month last year, after opening the fiscal year with a monthly record remittance of $2.6 billion in July last year, according to latest data published by the Bangladesh Bank.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal credited the government decision to continue 2 percent cash incentives on remittances sent through legal channels, and ease of rules for the robust growth in remittances.

“Many cast doubt on the sustainability of the growth in remittances in the beginning of the pandemic. But we have received (around) $24.8 billion in 2020-21 fiscal year, leaving back those fears,” he said.

The money sent by more than 10 million expatriates account for nearly 12 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP.

The remittances have also pushed Bangladesh’s foreign currency reserves past $46 billion, which is sufficient to pay import bills for more than 11 months.

The World Bank in June raised its global growth forecast to 5.6 percent for 2021, marking the strongest recovery from a recession since 1940 due to US stimulus spending and faster growth in China but held back by "highly unequal" access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The development lender's latest Global Economic Prospects report showed a 1.5-percentage-point increase from forecasts made in January, before the Biden administration took office and enacted a $1.9 trillion US COVID-19 aid package.