What we need to do to boost remittances

By on August 7, 2022 0

August 07, 2022, 09:30

Last modification: 07 August 2022, 09:35

Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding President, RMMRU. artwork: TBS


Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding President, RMMRU. artwork: TBS

The demand for skilled labor has increased worldwide and Bangladesh stands to benefit as these jobs offer higher wages.

Keeping it in the foreground, we should develop long, medium and short-term programs to develop human resources with the necessary training to meet the different needs of overseas labor markets. This way we can raise more funds.

To boost remittances within a year, we need to adapt vocational training to foreign markets.

We can provide training for girls graduating up to HSC, targeting labor markets that require female workers in addition to domestic help.

For example, there is a demand for nursing jobs abroad. Their primary duties include administering medication, assisting patients with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, or grooming, and following the patient’s prescribed health care plan. It will take six months to a year to prepare a woman with such skills.

In different countries there is a need for draftsmen who, as assistants to engineers, make detailed technical drawings or plans of machinery, buildings, electronics, infrastructure, etc. Europe, the United States and Australia are recruiting hairdressers.

Australia has a quota for the appointment of hairdressers. Only trained hairdressers can apply for such jobs. It takes up to a year to complete a hairdressing course.

But we do not see any training initiatives in these areas in Bangladesh.

We always have to keep track of which countries are hiring for which positions. For example, they recruit hairdressers one year and cleaners another. We need to prepare our workforce accordingly.

Today, the migration of skilled workers, including nurses, occurs on a limited scale – the number is only 100-200. We need to target at least 50,000 people for such migration. Then the government will not have to look back. We need to organize special training with the aim of training a large number of people in the first place.

As for medium-term measures, the government must stop fraudulent migration, which has increased considerably. For this, it is necessary to hold intermediaries accountable for defrauding migrants of huge sums of money with false promises.

As an immediate measure to boost remittances, we need to raise the ceiling on bond investments by expatriates.

The government launched Employee Development Bonds, US Dollar Premium Bonds and US Dollar Investment Bonds which provided an array of secure investments for non-resident Bangladeshis, but in 2020 the government set the investment limit in these bonds to Tk1 crore.

This policy is one of the reasons why our remittances have declined.

The government should revise the policy and allow NRBs to invest up to Tk 10 crore or even more. Some NRB investors may also invest Tk20 crore. If we want to increase remittances, we must immediately raise the NRB investment ceiling.

In addition, the government should review the various taxes and VAT imposed on bonds and make them investment friendly.

Additionally, cash incentives on remittances through banking channels can be increased to 5% from 2.5%. This can only be done for three months in the midst of the current crisis. If the government provides such a facility, no one will transact money through hundi.

Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding President of RMMRU