Zarif Mahmud: Dubai is the largest commercial city in the United Arab Emirates. The bustling city offers endless investment opportunities for business and entertainment. As a result, Dubai has now become the top choice in the second home list of foreigners.
Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have invested around Tk 37,000 crore legally in the city. This illegal investment will be more than Tk 11 thousand crore. On the other hand, Emirati entrepreneurs have invested Tk 5,800 crores in Bangladesh. The entrepreneurs of Bangladesh have taken a foreign loan of Tk 1,320 crores from the country. News from related sources.
According to a Bangladesh Bank report, Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have legally invested about $3.3 million in the Emirates. 37 crores in local currency. With the approval of Bangladesh Bank, these funds have been taken in foreign currency in that country. Dubai is now the center of international business. As a result, many exporting companies have opened branch offices there to meet with foreign buyers.
Besides, there is a large number of expatriates living in the country. A few banks have opened branches there to collect remittances from them. Investments in these sectors have been taken legally.
According to the report, there are 1 lakh 17 thousand Bangladeshi expatriates in Dubai. They are especially involved in the development activities of that country. Most of them are working class. As a result, they save a large part of the income by sending it home. Earlier, most remittances came from the Emirates. Now the country is no longer in the top list of sending remittances. came down to third place. Legitimate remittances from the country have been decreasing since Corona.
But it is increasing illegally.
By far, the emirate is the largest source of expatriate workers. 18 thousand workers went to the country in October-December. More than 18 thousand went in July-September. In the financial year 2018-19, remittances from the Emirates through banks were $254 million, in the financial year 2019-20, $247 million, in the financial year 2020-21, $244 million, and in the financial year 2021-22, $207 million.
In this way remittances from the country are decreasing every year. But workers are going the most. Still remittances are not increasing. In order to find out the reason, a team of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare went to the Emirates and submitted a report on the ground investigation.
It is said that due to non-availability of banking facilities, low exchange rate, time-consuming bank remittance, high cost, they have reduced sending remittance to the bank. On the contrary, the Hundi Chakra is very concentrated there. They visit expatriates’ residences and collect remittances and pay them immediately through local agents. Dubai is taking dirhams in return. The country is deprived of foreign exchange.
According to the central bank report, remittances from Dubai are declining by an average of 30 percent every quarter. Remittances fell by 34 percent in October-December compared to July-September. Expats get more money in hundi than what they get by sending remittances with exchange rate and two and a half percent incentives.
According to sources, the dirhams of remittances coming to Hundi are staying in Dubai. There they are being invested legally. Illegal investment of Bangladeshis in housing sector in Dubai is about Tk 350 crore. 20 Bangladeshi real estate firms based in Dubai are operating there. They are giving these investment opportunities to Bangladeshis. Besides, businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians of the country have also invested in various sectors in Dubai.
Apart from this, since Corona, the level of Bangladeshi students traveling to Dubai for higher education has also increased. Because it is very easy to send money in hundi there. This is also a reason. Remittances from the Emirates have dropped by $370 million in the past year. In the current fiscal year, it has decreased by about 30 percent. These remittances are believed to have arrived in Hundi. 40 percent of the total remittances come to Hundi, which is $800 million annually. Which are indirectly investing in Dubai.
A major part of this investment is in the gold business. Together, the money smuggled by Bangladeshis in Dubai will be more than $100 million. Which is 11 thousand crores in local currency.
In this context, the former governor of the central bank Salehuddin Ahme said, money can go both ways in Dubai. Depositing foreign currency in Dubai in the name of imports and exports and remittances in hundi through banks.
A lot of things can be caught if the central bank investigates the matter. In addition, information on these issues can be sought through the Egmont Group. Quick action should be taken against traffickers by finding out who from the country has invested in which sector in Dubai. Otherwise, money laundering will not stop.
He said that it will be difficult to stop money laundering if the environment of investment and confidence in the country is not ensured. The government must first ensure an environment of trust and good governance.
According to sources, the Emirates government has given a big concession after Corona to attract foreign investment in that country. Investor information is kept confidential. A 10-year golden visa is given on foreign currency investment equivalent to Tk 1 crore in Bangladeshi currency. This later leads to permanent citizenship. An opportunity to buy houses on easy terms is also being offered to foreigners. After Canada, Malaysia, now Dubai has come to this list. Due to these reasons, investments towards Dubai are increasing.
According to the report of the Central Bank, from 2006 to last June, the investment from Dubai to Bangladesh was $520 million. In local currency that is Tk 5,800 crores. These have come in oil, gas, food, banking, technology sectors. Bangladesh has taken a foreign loan of $120 million or Tk 1320 crore in local currency in the name of importing goods from the country.
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