Connect with us

Economy

Record 1.3m Bangladeshi Workers Go Abroad in 2023, Remittance Growth Sluggish

Published

on

bangladesh labour

Bangladesh achieved a record high in sending workers abroad in 2023, surpassing the previous year by 15%, driven by the reopening of the Malaysian market and expanded quotas in Saudi Arabia. The Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training (BMET) reported that 1.3 million workers found employment in 137 countries, marking a substantial increase from the 1.135 million recorded in 2022. Notably, remittance growth remained modest, with a mere 3% year-on-year increase in 2023.

The robust surge in Bangladeshi workers migrating overseas showcased a disconnect as remittances stagnated around $22 billion over the last two years. Malaysia, reopening its labor market after a four-year hiatus, emerged as the second-largest employer of Bangladeshi workers globally, following closely behind Saudi Arabia. The increased quota for Bangladeshi workers in Saudi firms, raised from 25% to 40% in 2021, significantly contributed to enhanced hiring opportunities.

Saudi Arabia led in recruiting the highest number of workers in 2023, reaching approximately 498,000, constituting around 38% of Bangladesh’s total foreign employment. The roles primarily included construction workers, cleaners, masons, plumbers, and drivers. Despite the success story, challenges arose as workers, especially in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia, faced difficulties due to fake job offers and higher migration costs compared to government-fixed rates.

The remarkable achievement in overseas employment had a positive aspect with a surge in non-traditional destinations. Italy became the largest non-traditional destination, recruiting workers for agriculture, hospitality, and manufacturing. The UK and South Korea also joined as major employers, reflecting a diversification in migration patterns.

The increase in non-traditional destinations contributed to a 22% rise in skilled worker migration, surpassing the 2022 mark. However, unskilled migration continued to dominate, constituting 50% of total foreign jobs. Skilled migration accounted for approximately 25%, with professions such as drivers, caregivers, domestic staff, and hospitality personnel leading the way.

Migration experts and bankers attribute the disparity between overseas employment and remittances to the prevalence of low-skilled occupations, the use of illegal money transfer channels (hundi), and fraudulent job offers. Despite challenges, recruiting agencies emphasized their adherence to legitimate demand, emphasizing the multiple stages of review and verification undertaken before workers are sent abroad.

BMET officials acknowledged the small number of workers facing challenges in securing employment abroad compared to the overall migrant population. The government’s efforts to diversify migration patterns and address discrepancies in remittance growth are anticipated to shape future policies in the overseas employment sector.

Share this

Economy

UK inflation holds at 2% in June: official data

By

Published

on

UK Inflation

Britain’s inflation rate held steady in June after returning to the Bank of England’s target the previous month, official data showed Wednesday, confounding expectations for another modest slowdown.

The Consumer Prices Index was unchanged at 2.0 percent in June from the same level in May, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement, compared with market forecasts of 1.9 percent.

“Hotel prices rose strongly, while second-hand car costs fell but by less than this time last year,” said ONS chief executive Grant Fitzner.
“However, these were offset by falling clothing prices, with widespread sales driving down their cost.

“Meanwhile, the cost of both raw materials and goods leaving factories fell on the month, though factory gate prices remain above where they were a year ago.”

Analysts said the data could cause the Bank of England to sit tight for a while longer before starting to cut interest rates.

“The chances of an interest rate cut in August have diminished a bit more,” said Paul Dales, chief UK economist at research consultancy Capital Economics.

Last month, the BoE kept its key interest rate at a 16-year high of 5.25 percent, despite slowing inflation in May.

Britain’s newly elected Labour government welcomed news that inflation remained at the BoE’s target level.

“It is welcome that inflation is at target,” said Darren Jones, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in a statement.

“But we know that for families across Britain prices remain high… (which) is why this government is taking the tough decisions now to fix the foundations” of the UK economy, he said.

Labour, led by new Prime Minister Keir Starmer, has pledged immediate action to grow the economy after the centre-left party won a landslide general election victory to end 14 years of Conservative rule.

Later on Wednesday, King Charles III will read out Labour’s first programme for government in a decade and a half, when the UK parliament formally reopens following the July 4 election.
Elevated interest rates have worsened a UK cost-of-living squeeze because they increase borrowing repayments, thereby cutting disposable incomes and crimping economic activity.

The BoE began a series of rate hikes in late 2021 to combat inflation, which rose after countries emerged from Covid lockdowns and accelerated after the invasion of Ukraine by key oil and gas producer Russia.

 

Share this
Continue Reading

Economy

China’s economy grew less than expected in second quarter: official data

By

Published

on

china gdp

China’s economy grew 4.7 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2024, official data showed Monday, less than analysts had expected.

“By quarter, the GDP for the first quarter increased by 5.3 percent year on year and for the second quarter 4.7 percent,” Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

The figures were much lower than the 5.1 percent predicted by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Retail sales — a key gauge of consumption — also slowed to just two percent in June, the NBS said, down from 3.7 percent in May.

The world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a real estate debt crisis, weakening consumption, an ageing population and trade tensions with Western rivals.

Top officials are meeting in Beijing on Monday for a key plenum, with all eyes on how they might kickstart lacklustre growth.

Share this
Continue Reading

Economy

Concerns Mount Over Revenue Loss as South Asia’s Largest Land Port Curtails Operations

Published

on

truck eid

Bangladeshi officials are grappling with fears of revenue loss as the largest land port in South Asia, situated along the India-Bangladesh border, has ceased operations for 10 hours each day since July 11.

The Petrapole Land Port in India, crucial for trade between the two nations, has been shutting down from 6 PM to 8 AM daily, without providing any explanation for the closure, according to officials from the Benapole Land Authority in Bangladesh. This unexpected halt has left Bangladeshi authorities and traders in a state of uncertainty, as there is no indication of when the operations might resume to normalcy.

Industry insiders warn that this disruption could lead to a significant revenue shortfall at Benapole port due to decreased imports, adversely affecting Bangladeshi importers with delayed product deliveries.

Rezaul Karim, Director of Traffic at Benapole Land Port Authority, emphasized that while Benapole has been maintaining 24-hour operations, Petrapole’s recent restrictions are hindering cargo truck movements after evening.

“We have inquired with the Petrapole port authority about the reasons for halting trade services after evening. They responded that the matter is under discussion with relevant authorities,” Karim said.

Sultan Mahmud Bipul, Secretary of Benapole C&F Agent Association International Checkpost Affairs, highlighted the fiscal implications of this disruption. “Benapole port has set a revenue target of Tk6,705 crore from imported goods for the fiscal year 2024-25. If the 24-hour import facility remains discontinued, it will severely impact our revenue targets,” he noted.

Ziaur Rahman, General Secretary of Benapole Landport Importers and Exporters Association, pointed out the severe impact on trade, particularly with perishable goods. “Traders dealing with perishable food products are incurring the biggest losses due to this halt. The inability of goods trucks to enter after evening will widen the trade deficit,” Rahman remarked.

As the situation unfolds, the Benapole Land Port Authority and associated trade bodies continue to seek clarity and resolution from their Indian counterparts to mitigate the economic repercussions of this operational disruption.

Share this
Continue Reading