The Centre for Non-Resident Bangladeshis (Centre for NRB), a non-profit private research institute, has demanded a 3% incentive in the new budget to increase remittance income.
M S Shekil Chowdhury, chairman of the organisation, placed the demand at a press conference in Dhaka on Saturday afternoon. Three directors and research associates of the institute were also present at the press conference.
Shekil Chowdhury said that even though had sought a 5%, incentive, since the government has to attend to other sectors in dealing with Covid-19, the incentive should at least be 3%.
According to the Centre for NRB, remittances will increase to $30 billion in the coming fiscal year.
In the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, remittance income stood at $22.84 billion, nearly 40% more than in the same period of the last fiscal year. By the end of the current fiscal year, it could exceed $25 billion.
On Thursday, the finance minister announced a 2% incentive to maintain the high flow of remittance income in the proposed budget for the upcoming financial year. He also talked about launching special package programmes through some banks.
The Centre for NRB has demanded the formation of a separate Expatriate Investment Authority to make it easier for expatriates to invest in the country. It also suggested outlining a permanent policy to facilitate low interest loans and investment in bonds.
The organisation has sought a block allocation of Tk1,000 crore in the new budget, considering the contribution of expatriates. It has also urged the government to form a special pension scheme for Bangladeshis who have returned from overseas for good.
The Centre for NRB has also demanded a separate allocation in the budget to bring back deceased Bangladeshis from abroad free of cost and to provide affordable air tickets to repatriate Bangladeshis abroad, with declining incomes amid the pandemic.
The leaders of the organisation suggested making Bangladesh missions in different countries accountable for alleviating the sufferings of Bangladeshis abroad, and to allocate funds in the budget to increase their capacity and efficiency.
Shekil Chowdhury said many Bangladeshis are stuck in Malaysian jails and requested the government to provide legal support for them.
He also demanded that special measures be taken to produce passports and national identity cards for Bangladeshis abroad.