DHAKA   -  Nearly 300,000 Bangladeshis have returned to their workplaces abroad till the middle of October since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been revealed by the country’s Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal during a virtual round-table meeting on Wednesday as part of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said the number of Bangladeshis who returned to workplaces during the aforesaid period is 26 percent higher than the same period of the last year, helping inflow of remittances, the second-largest source of foreign exchange in Bangladesh’s economy, unaffected so far.

The minister said 195,698 Bangladeshis returned home from abroad while 2,84,000 Bangladeshis returned to their workplaces in overseas till Oct. 15.

Meanwhile, he said they arranged social protection programs including a food stamp of 1.3 million U.S. dollars for the returnees during the COVID-19 holidays in April and May.

Against this backdrop, according to the minister, growth momentum in inward remittances from non-resident Bangladeshis remains steady.

Overseas Bangladeshis in the first three months of the current 2020-21 fiscal year (July 2020-June 2021) remitted home 6.71 billion U.S. dollars, 48.54 percent higher than a year earlier, he said.

He said Bangladesh’s remittances hit an all-time high of 18.20 billion U.S. dollars in the past 2019-20 fiscal year.