Remittance jumps through MFS
74.00 per cent higher than last month
Gazi Anowar :
The remittance has jumped in recent times through official channels accelerated by mobile payment apps used by commercial banks as the last mile delivery channel to the recipients living in remote villages in real time and curb cost of remittance.
The reason for such jump has been attributed to government's incentives, stable exchange rate policy and collaborative remittance service provided by banks and mobile financial services (MFS), a central bank official said.
Remittance hit an all-time high of $16.40 billion in the just concluded fiscal year, lending some breathing space to the central bank as it promotes mobile banking channels as the last mile delivery channel of remittance and continues to sell US dollars at higher exchange rate to attract migrant workers to send their money through official channels.
The inflows were 9.47 percent higher than that in fiscal 2017-18, according
to data from the central bank. Meanwhile, inflow of inward remittance through mobile financial service channel jumped by 74.00 per cent in May compared with the previous month as of 26.71 per cent. A good number of commercial banks are taking bKash, country's leading Mobile Financial Service (MFS) provider as their partner to disburse remittance money to the recipients living all across Bangladesh.
Under the partnership, banks collect remittance from overseas and their partner MFS mostly bKash disburse the money to the remittance recipients instantly. Bangladeshi diaspora working abroad are finding this collaborative way of remittance service quick, unique and secure as their near and dear living in remote areas receive money in cash equivalent to remit money in foreign currency.
Currently bKash has partnership with six banks for foreign remittance disbursement. BRAC Bank, MTB and Bank Asia delivered Tk 32.75 crore against 51995 transactions from January to May. In the month of June, remittance collected by commercial banks and disbursed through bKash was Tk 24. 5 crore against 38,351 transactions, one central bank official told The New Nation.
Out of 56 banks, only 17 have their own MFS services to remit money instantly to the beneficiaries while bKash has largest clienteles base across the country with around 30 million subscribers.
"We are experiencing higher remittance inflow through bKash in recent times", Major General Sheikh Md Monirul Islam (retd), Chief of External Affairs, bKash Limited told The New Nation.
"Thanks to the regulatory support of Bangladesh Bank we have a good number of partner banks for disbursement of remittance money into the beneficiary bKash account instantly", he added.
High cost of remittance and delay in delivery of money to the recipients remain as the major barrier to the growth of foreign remittance inflow in Bangladesh. "If transaction fees on remittances could be reduced to 1.5% (roughly the rate for pre-paid card transactions), the gains for Bangladesh would be significant', a study of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco shows.
"Ways to bank and payment modalities are evolving with emergence of next generation of mobile technology. Many regulators are leveraging mobile payments to drive the broader [financial] inclusion agenda, and drive greater productivity in the economy. Bangladesh Bank is not behind in the curb', said a top central banker.