Bangladeshi expatriates in the United States pay highest 5.3 per cent fees while Bangladeshi expatriates in Singapore pay lowest 2.61 per cent fees for sending remittance back home. The second-highest 5.1 per cent fees are paid by Bangladeshi diaspora in the United Kingdom, according to a presentation by Bangladesh Bank to finance division in December 2018 on fees for sending remittance from different countries.
Bangladesh Bank joint director Mohammad Shafiul Alam told New Age on Monday that the Bangladesh was committed to bringing down the fees for remittance below 3 per cent to achieve one of the sustainable development goals by 2030.
Among the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, Bangladeshi migrants pay highest 4.46 per cent fees for remittance, followed by Saudia Arabia 3.90 per cent, Oman 3.44 per cent and United Arab Emirates 2.96 per cent.
Bangladeshi migrants in Kuwait pay second-lowest 2.64 per cent fees for remittance.
The government is planning to take measures, including providing subsidy and offering higher exchange rate for remittance senders to encourage them to send remittance through official channels, officials said.
Remittance plays a vital role in meeting of payment in a trade-deficit country like Bangladesh, they said.
Shafiul Alam said that two committees at the finance division and financial institutions division were now working to reduce the cost of remittance.
It would take time to make concrete decisions in this regard.
Bangladesh received $14.98 billion in remittance in 2017-18 financial year for which $600 million was paid as fees by about 70 lakh Bangladeshi migrants as the average fee for remittance now was 3.99 per cent.
Saudi Arabia was the biggest source of remittance inflow into Bangladesh as Bangladeshi immigrants sent $2.5 billion in 2017-18 followed by the United Arab Emirates with a remittance of $2.4 billion.
The United States was the third top remittance generating source for Bangladesh with a remittance of $1.9 billion in 2017-18.
The United Kingdom and Malaysia shared the fourth place as Bangladeshi migrants sent $1.1 billion each from those countries in 2017-18.
Former central bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed said that the inflow of remittance bounced back in 2018 following initiatives taken by the central bank after it was slowed down in 2017.
The initiatives included checking illegal bills of exchange (hundi), he said, adding that expatriates were now using the banking channel to send remittance to their families.
He noted that programme for reducing the fees should be taken carefully so that vested interests could not abuse those.