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Bangladesh Remittance Inflows Dip 7.77% in March

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Bangladesh witnessed a notable decrease in inward remittances by 7.77% to US$1.99 billion in March, deviating from the expected increase ahead of Eid, according to the latest data released by Bangladesh Bank on Monday.

This decline comes as a surprise, especially since February recorded a high of $2.16 billion in remittances from Bangladeshis living abroad, marking an eight-month peak.

The usual trend sees a spike in remittances as expatriates send more money home to support their families during Eid. However, this period has shown an unexpected downturn.

Industry insiders attribute the fall to an increase in remittances sent through unofficial channels, or Hundi, prompted by more favorable exchange rates for the US dollar outside the formal banking system.

Economist Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur highlighted that remitters are opting for Hundi, where the exchange rate is Tk 5 to 7 higher per US dollar, over official channels. This shift has sparked concerns about the impact on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Bangladesh Bank’s executive director and spokesperson, Md Mezbaul Haque, remarked that despite the dip in March, the flow of inward remittances has risen through legal channels due to governmental and banking incentives.

Haque remains optimistic that remittance figures will rebound in April, citing measures taken by the central bank to encourage remittances through formal avenues. These include directives for banks to offer additional incentives from their resources, complementing the government’s existing 2.5% incentive on expatriates’ incomes.

“By allowing banks to purchase dollars at an additional 2.5% higher rate, we aim to make the legal channels more attractive for sending remittances,” stated Mezbaul, underscoring efforts to counter the reliance on informal remittance routes and stabilize the remittance inflow.

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Economy

Bangladesh-Qatar Strengthen Ties with 10 Cooperation Deals

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Bangladesh and Qatar signed 10 cooperation documents on Tuesday, including five agreements and five MoUs, aimed at strengthening ties and elevating relations to new heights.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani witnessed the signing of the documents.

The five agreements cover cooperation in the legal field, promotion and protection of mutual investments, avoidance of double taxation, maritime transport, and the establishment of a Joint Business Council (JBC) between FBCCI & QCCI.

The five MoUs include cooperation in sports and youth, manpower employment (Labour), diplomatic training, education, higher education, scientific research, and between Qatar Ports management Company “MAWANI QATAR” and Chittagong Ports Authority.

Earlier in the morning, PM Hasina warmly welcomed and received Emir Sheikh Tamim at her office.

They had a tête-à-tête meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, followed by a bilateral meeting.

After signing the visitors’ book, the emir headed for Bangabhaban where the president received him.

A high-level Qatari delegation led by Qatar’s emir is on a state visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of the president and the prime minister.

During the ceremony, a road and a park in Dhaka were named after Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

The park, constructed in Kalshi area of Mirpur under Dhaka North City Corporation, and the road from Mirpur ECB point to Kalsi Fly Over were named after Emir of Qatar.

Now, the road and park are known as Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Avenue and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Park.

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FBCCI Pushes for SME Participation in Global Trade Fairs

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The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) is urging for greater involvement of marginal, small, and medium enterprises in international trade fairs. This initiative aims to spotlight Bangladesh’s promising products on the global market.

FBCCI President Mahbubul Alam made the call during the first meeting of the organisation’s Standing Committee on National and International Trade Fairs and Foreign Delegations. He emphasised the need to provide marginal, small, and medium enterprises with the space and resources to effectively display their products at these events.

“The participation of marginal, small, and medium enterprises is crucial at both national and international levels,” Mahbubul Alam said. “This will allow us to export Bangladesh’s promising products and open new markets.”

The FBCCI president informed that his organisation is actively discussing and collaborating with the government to make this a reality. He also proposed organising roadshows in neighbouring countries and Europe to revive the country’s handicraft industry and increase export opportunities for these products.

Standing Committee Chairman Nuruzzaman echoed Mahbubul Alam’s sentiments, highlighting Bangladesh’s vast potential and young population. “We need to move beyond the garment sector and focus on product diversification and market creation,” Nuruzzaman said.

Achieving this, he acknowledged, will require close collaboration with the Export Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

FBCCI Senior Vice President Md Amin Helaly pledged the organisation’s support in facilitating increased exports through participation in foreign trade fairs. He stressed, however, the importance of raising awareness among Bangladeshis about the country’s diverse and promising products.

The meeting concluded with an open discussion where participants expressed keen interest in organising and participating in various sectoral fairs, both domestically and internationally, under the FBCCI’s umbrella.

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Ambassador Imran: Legal Remittance Key to Bangladesh’s Growth

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Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Muhammad Imran, has urged Bangladeshi expatriates to send remittances through legal channels to further strengthen the country’s economy. He also encouraged them to showcase the country’s success stories to enhance its image abroad.

Speaking as the chief guest at the Customers’ Gathering and SECI App Campaign of Sonali Exchange at the Bangabandhu Auditorium of the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC on Friday evening, Ambassador Imran emphasized the importance of sending remittances legally.

The event, jointly organized by the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC and Sonali Exchange, a subsidiary company of Sonali Bank, aimed to raise awareness about sending remittances to Bangladesh through legal channels.

Sonali Bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director, Md. Afzal Karim, attended the event as a special guest, while Devasree Mitra, CEO of Sonali Exchange Company Incorporation, USA, delivered the welcome address.

Ambassador Imran highlighted Bangladesh’s significant progress across all sectors over the past decade and a half under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He emphasized the positive achievements and changes that have occurred in the country during this period.

Imran stressed the importance of sharing Bangladesh’s success stories globally, believing that doing so would elevate the country’s stature on the international stage. He noted Bangladesh’s victorious history, achieved through the Liberation War under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangabandhu’s vision of establishing “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal) free from hunger and poverty remains a driving force for the nation, Imran stated, expressing confidence that Bangladesh is steadily progressing towards this goal.

The event saw participation from a large number of expatriate Bangladeshis residing in Washington DC and its neighboring states. Counsellor and Head of Chancery Shamima Yeasmin Smrite conducted the proceedings.

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