রেমিট্যান্স রেকর্ডে আত্মতুষ্টির সুযোগ নেই

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অনুসন্ধান প্রতিদিন সম্পাদকীয়:
বাংলাদেশ সরকারের আয়ের প্রধানতম উৎস হচ্ছে রেমিট্যান্স। নানা ধরনের প্রতিকূলতা-প্রতিবন্ধকতা সত্ত্বেও দেশের অর্থনৈতিক গতিপ্রকৃতি যে এখনও আশাব্যঞ্জক, এর অন্যতম কারণ প্রবাসীদের পাঠানো এ অর্থ। রেমিট্যান্স বিষয়ে সর্বশেষ যে তথ্য আমাদের সামনে এসেছে তা অত্যন্ত আনন্দদায়ক।

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রানীতি বিভাগের হালনাগাদ প্রতিবেদন থেকে প্রাপ্ত তথ্য বলছে, ২০১৮-১৯ অর্থবছরে দেশে প্রবাসীদের পাঠানো বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা বা রেমিট্যান্স ১৬০০ কোটি ডলার ছাড়িয়েছে, যা বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাসে এ পর্যন্ত সর্বোচ্চ। এর আগে ২০১৮ সালে ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেলে এক হাজার ৫৫৭ কোটি ডলার দেশে পাঠিয়েছেন প্রবাসীরা। অর্থাৎ আগের অর্থবছরের তুলনায় এবার রেমিট্যান্স বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে প্রায় সাড়ে চারশো কোটি ডলার। কেন্দ্রীয় ব্যাংক থেকে প্রাপ্ত তথ্যমতে, মাঝে ২০১৬ ও ২০১৭ সাল বাদে ২০১৪ সাল থেকে এ পর্যন্ত প্রতি বছর রেমিট্যান্সের পরিমাণ আশাব্যঞ্জক হারে বৃদ্ধি পেয়েছে।

যদিও মোট রেমিট্যান্সের পরিমাণ বেড়েছে, জনপ্রতি হারে এ অর্থের পরিমাণ কমেছে। প্রবাসীকল্যাণ ও কর্মসংস্থান মন্ত্রণালয়ের তথ্যানুযায়ী, মাত্র ৬ হাজার ৮৭ জন কর্মী পাঠানোর মধ্যে দিয়ে ১৯৭৬ সালে আনুষ্ঠানিকভাবে বাংলাদেশ জনশক্তি রপ্তানি শুরু করে। সে বছর প্রাপ্ত রেমিট্যান্স ২ কোটি ৩৭ লাখ ১০ হাজার মার্কিন ডলারকে গড় হিসাব করলে দেখা যায় জনপ্রতি রেমিট্যান্স এসেছিল ৩ হাজার ৮৯৫ মার্কিন ডলার। সেখানে বর্তমানে প্রবাসীর সংখ্যা ১ কোটি ছাড়িয়েছে।

সে হিসাবে সর্বশেষ অর্থবছরে জনপ্রতি রেমিট্যান্সের পরিমাণ দাঁড়াচ্ছে মাত্র ১ হাজার ৬০০ মার্কিন ডলারের মতো, যা শুরুর বছরের তুলনায় অর্ধেকেরও কম। অথচ এশিয়ার অনেক দেশেই জনপ্রতি রেমিট্যান্সের হার দিন দিন বৃদ্ধি পাচ্ছে। তথ্য বিশ্লেষণে দেখা যাচ্ছে, শুরুর বছরের তুলনায় বর্তমান সময় পর্যন্ত প্রবাসীর সংখ্যা বেড়েছে প্রায় ১৬০০ গুণ; পক্ষান্তরে রেমিট্যান্স বেড়েছে মাত্র ৬৫৫ গুণ। তাই মোট রেমিট্যান্সে রেকর্ড হলেও রপ্তানিকৃত জনশক্তির তুলনায় তা সন্তোষজনক নয়।

কিন্তু এ ধরনের পরিস্থিতি তৈরি হবার পেছনে কারণ কী? সংশ্লিষ্টদের মতে, গত কয়েক বছরে প্রবাসীরা ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেলে টাকা পাঠানোর উৎসাহ হারিয়ে ফেলছেন। ব্যাংকিং চ্যানেল বহির্ভূত অবৈধভাবে মোবাইল ব্যাংকিং হুন্ডির মাধ্যমে রেমিট্যান্স পাঠানোর প্রবণতা বেড়ে গেছে বহুগুণে। এর নেতিবাচক প্রভাব পড়ছে রেমিট্যান্সে।

হুন্ডির কারণে উপার্জিত বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা মূলত বিদেশেই থেকে যাচ্ছে। তাছাড়া, বাজার-চাহিদার অনুকূলে দক্ষ জনশক্তি রপ্তানি করতে না পারা, উন্নত দেশগুলোতে জনশক্তি রপ্তানিতে পিছিয়ে পড়া, দক্ষতার অভাবসহ নানাবিধ কারণে বাংলাদেশি শ্রমিকদের অপেক্ষাকৃত স্বল্প মজুরিতে শ্রম বিক্রয়ে বাধ্য হওয়া ইত্যাদি কারণেও রপ্তানিকৃত জনশক্তির তুলনায় রেমিট্যান্সের হার হ্রাস পেয়েছে। এতকিছু সত্ত্বেও, প্রবাসীদের আয়কে কেবল হুন্ডির কবল থেকে রক্ষা করতে পারলেই রেমিট্যান্সের পরিমাণ দ্বিগুণ হয়ে যাবে বলে অর্থনীতিবিদদের অনেকের মত।

হুন্ডির মাধ্যমে টাকা পাঠানোকে নিরুৎসাহিত করতে হলে বৃদ্ধি করতে হবে ব্যাংকিং সুবিধা। হুন্ডির মাধ্যমে প্রবাসীরা যে সকল সুবিধা লাভ করছেন, সেগুলোর দিকে নজর দিত হবে। যেমন- হুন্ডির মাধ্যমে টাকা পাঠাতে আলাদা কোনো চার্জ দিতে হয় না, যেমনটি হয় ব্যাংকের ক্ষেত্রে। আবার হুন্ডির ক্ষেত্রে মুদ্রার বিনিময়মূল্যও ব্যাংকের চাইতে বেশি। তাছাড়া ব্যাংক মারফত টাকা পাঠালে আয়কর সংক্রান্ত জটিলতাও তৈরির সুযোগ থাকে। ব্যাংকিং ব্যবস্থার এসব দিক নিয়ে ভাবতে হবে। প্রবাসীদের অর্থ ব্যাংকের মাধ্যমে পাঠানো নিশ্চিত করতে নানাবিধ প্রণোদনার ব্যবস্থা করতে হবে।

রেমিট্যান্স বৃদ্ধির লক্ষ্যে চলতি অর্থবছরের বাজেট প্রস্তাবে রেমিট্যান্স পাঠানোর ওপর প্রবাসী বাংলাদেশিদের ২ শতাংশ হারে প্রণোদনা দেওয়ার ঘোষণা প্রদান করা হয়েছে। রেমিট্যান্স প্রেরণে বর্ধিত ব্যয় লাঘব এবং বৈধ পথে অর্থ প্রেরণে উৎসাহিত করার জন্য প্রবাসী বাংলাদেশিদের প্রণোদনা হিসেবে চলতি অর্থবছরে ৩ হাজার ৬০ কোটি টাকা বরাদ্দ রাখা হয়েছে। এ অর্থ যেন যথাযথ উপায়ে ব্যয় হয়, সেদিকে লক্ষ রাখার পাশাপাশি প্রবাসীদের জন্য ব্যাংকিং কার্যক্রমকে আরও সহজ করে তুলতেও সচেষ্ট হতে হবে।

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