With the coronavirus pandemic pounding the global economy, Bangladesh’s export earnings in April dropped below the remittances received for the first time in its history
Expatriate Bangladeshis sent $1.08 billion in the month, calming fears of remittance dropping below $1 billion. Remittance accounts for 12 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP.
The businesses exported goods worth $520 million, just a little over half the remittance.
The export earnings missed the target by 85.37 percent. The year-on-year for April was 82.85 percent.
In the pre-pandemic era, export earnings would normally outstrip remittances two to three times over.
In July last year, remittance was around $1.6 billion while exports were nearly $3.6 billion.
“COVID-19 is really turning everything upside down. I’ve never thought there would be more remittance than export,” researcher Ahsan H Mansur told bdnews24.com.
The executive director of Policy Research Institute warned that the pandemic may eat into remittances as well.
Hundreds of thousands of expatriate Bangladeshis returned home as the outbreak caused devastating job losses across the world, he noted.
“The expatriates are sending money from their savings or loans, not earnings,” Mansur said.
“I don’t know what will happen in future as you can see what’s happening now,” said Rubana Huq, the president of the garment exporters’ lobbying group BGMEA.
“Nothing is in our hands now,” added AKM Salim Osman, the chief of knitwear exporters’ association.
The country exported readymade garments (knit, woven) worth only $369 million in April, compared with $2.42 billion at the same time last year.
The $34 billion apparel industry contributes more than 80 percent to Bangladesh’s total exports.
By: Abdur Rahim Harmachi, Chief Economics Correspondent,
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