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Understand the Remittance Dynamics of Bangladesh with Magpie

Inward Remittance or simply Remittance has been one of the key drivers of Bangladesh’s economy. It is the second largest foreign exchange earner for Bangladesh after export, and is the decisive factor to keep country’s current account balance in positive mark. In 2019, Bangladesh received USD 18.33 billion as remittances, highest ever in history. This has put Bangladesh as the 3rd largest remittance recipient country in South Asia and 10th largest in the world, according to World Bank. A large chunk of this remittance goes to the rural areas of Bangladesh, mainly used for private consumption. Thus remittance benefits the country not only at macro level but also at micro level by improving quality of lives, reducing unemployment, creating demand for products and services for various industries, knowledge transfer etc.

The multiplicative impacts of remittance have pushed Magpie Analytics to prepare an interactive dashboard on remittance. Whether you are a policymaker, an economist, an analyst, an industry specialist or just an enthusiastic learner – this dashboard presents the data to cater the needs of all.

Once you are in the dashboard, the snapshot gives the overview of key variables related to remittances. Oil rich GCC countries are the top remittance sourcing countries for Bangladesh accounting over 57.0% of total remittance.

Middle East region provides more than half of total remittance

Growth rates for both remittance and workers going abroad are shown with drill down option. Remittance growth was quite muted during 2015-17 period despite healthy growth observed in workers going abroad in the same period. One of the key reasons behind such muted growth in remittance was heavy use of informal channel (hundi). Informal channel carries approximately 10-15% of total remittance inflow and is not included in the official numbers (Source: Investment from Remittance 2016, BBS). Increasing financial literacy and raising awareness among the workers are paramount to curb the flow of remittance coming through informal channel. Remittance growth picked up in 2018-19 period and was significantly higher in 2019 partly because of 2% cash subsidy offered by the government.

Yearly remittance can be broken down to monthly figures

The dashboard also depicts how remittance as % of GDP varies over the years. This measure clearly shows the need to explore non-traditional markets along with nurturing existing markets and promote skill development before departure. It is now evident that demand for less-skilled labor force declining fast globally.

The ‘Workers’ tab covers information about workers going abroad. You can find some interesting insights here. If you want to know which district has sent the most workers abroad then Cumilla is the answer. During 2005 – 2019, almost 10.7% of total workers who went abroad were from Cumilla. Graphical presentation also shows that it is the middle and eastern parts of the country that have sent more workers compared to western part.

Along with total and average number of workers going abroad this dashboard also allows you to check male female dynamics of workers. Female workers going abroad noted strong growth and pushed percentage of female to total workers from 5% in 2011 to 15% in 2019. Number of female workers going abroad topped in 2017. As the percentage of female workers has been increasing, the importance of their safety abroad has grown as well. Newspapers shared many tales of physical and sexual abuses committed against female workers who are mostly employed there in the roles of domestic helps and nurses. All relevant authorities including the recruiting agencies should take efforts in this regard and need to provide immediate support to exploited women migrant workers.

This dashboard goes one step further in workers recipient country analysis by not only allowing you to compare among the countries but also providing a time series visual to see how a particular country performed over 2017 – 2019 period. Saudi Arabia is by far the largest workers recipient country from Bangladesh followed by Malaysia, Oman, Qatar and Singapore. Top 5 destinations attract almost 74.0% of total migrant workers per year, suggesting a very concentrated overseas job market for Bangladeshi workers. Any trouble or crisis in any of these five countries likely to have large impact on the total number of workers going abroad. And this has actually happened.

Check contribution of each country during 2017 – 2019

Click on Malaysia from the table and the time series visual will show that, in 2019 workers went there dropped to almost nil or 0.1% out of total workers went there during 2017-2019. Malaysian Government stopped the G2G system for the recruitment of migrant workers from Bangladesh in 2018 following allegation of syndicate forming. Till date this issue hasn’t been resolved in effective manner.

You may wonder about how much remittance Bangladesh receives from any particular country or how the flow of remittance from a particular country varies over time. The dashboard prepared by Magpie Analytics has a dedicated tab for country wise remittance analysis. You can easily see that top 5 workers recipient countries and top 5 remittance sourcing countries are not the same. USA despite being very lowly ranked in workers recipient list provides around 14% of total remittance annually. Skilled migration is one of the main reasons. UK is another one which sends sizable remittance to Bangladesh. Singapore on the other hand contributes below 3% of total remittance despite being a top 5 destination of Bangladeshi workers.

If you are interested to see the yearly developments in all these variables you can easily do that from the year selection box placed at the top. The year selection box is available in every page of this dashboard to make the analysis comparable and interesting.

Saudi Arabia ranks first in both as destination and remittance generating country

Notwithstanding remittance is a key component of Bangladesh’s economy, there are plenty of areas where digitalization can be done to reduce exploitation. Online job portals, digital platform for recruiting agencies, demand based skills and language development, post departure monitoring by embassies of Bangladesh, mode of sending remittance, rehabilitation of returned workers etc. are some of the important fields where both public and private can work together and ensure better efficiency and transparency.

I hope by now you have acquainted with the basic analytical power of this dashboard on remittance and overseas job employment. You can do much more with this as it is powered with various choices of data presentation techniques. Magpie Analytics is always there for you with the right tools to explore the data and get the proper insights.

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