In the first 15 days of April, Bangladeshi expatriates sent home more than $1.15 billion in remittances, compared to $1.09 billion of the same entire month a year ago.
People concerned say that expatriates always send a little more in remittances during Ramadan and Eid festivals, compared to other times of the year. Compounded by the Covid-19 second wave, remittance inflows have increased significantly, they added.
Of the remittances, $847 million came through private banks, about $302 million through state-owned banks, and $4.25 million through foreign banks.
Till 15 April, about half of the remittances came through Islami, Agrani, and Dutch-Bangla banks. Remittances through Islami Bank amounted to $334 million, Agrani Bank $130 million, and Dutch-Bangla Bank $120 million.
About the increase in remittance inflows, Musharraf Hossain, additional managing director of Islami Bank, told The Business Standard that people were sending extra money to their families in Bangladesh to cover expenses for Ramadan and upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr.
Many people are also sending extra money to cover medical expenses for their loved ones infected by the coronavirus. Many Bangladeshis abroad are facing uncertainty as well since many of the countries they are in are encountering the second wave of Covid-19 but are nevertheless sending their savings.
Apart from the 2% incentive announced by the government, many banks are also giving an additional 1% incentive. An additional 1% incentive is given for sending remittances to the agent outlet account of Islami Bank.
Where an incentive of Tk2,000 is given on Tk1 lakh, an additional Tk1,000 is added to the agent outlet, and a total of Tk3,000 is given to recipients in Bangladesh. The banker thinks that many abroad are sending more remittances because of the additional incentives.
According to a recent analysis by the Centre for Policy Dialogue, the illegal channels of remittances have almost completely stopped as means of normal communication around the world has been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So far, more remittances are coming in legally than before and it all adds up in government coffers. The 2% incentive has also played a role in increasing the remittance inflow, added the think tank.