PKB needs publicity thrust
With millions of Bangladeshi workers sending money back home regularly, income from remittances keeps the economy on a solid platform. Therefore, to facilitate more aspiring migrant workers in their pursuit to go abroad and provide banking support for those already living in foreign countries, the Probashi Kalyan Bank was established in 2011. However, a New Age report states that although 1.3 million workers went abroad after the PKB had come into into being, only 2,505 workers received assistance from the institution in leaving for work on a foreign land. The paltry number of people who took support indicates to the fact that the PKB has not managed to play a significant role in sending migrant workers to off-shore destinations. This, indeed, is an issue for worry because if a specialised bank fails to lure the people it aims to serve, there is a serious
lapse in publicity. The PKB was established with the sole view of
providing low-interest loans for workers who face problems in financing their trip to overseas work places, but the few thousand people who took help form the institution should not deceive us into believing that workers wanting to go abroad do not face financial constrains any more.
The problem is that a lot of people are not aware that such an institution exists. Blame this on a perfunctory publicity drive which has not made the name of the bank familiar across the country. Also, the PKB is not recognised by the Bangladesh Bank as a viable commercial bank and as it is relatively new, it cannot be a conduit in repatriating earnings of foreign workers. This may sound harsh but the establishment with a bombastic name is in reality an effete organisation, virtually an unknown entity in the overall expatriate workers’ paraphernalia of priorities. We do understand that a new bank cannot gain the right to deal with money by expatriate workers, however, if the Bangladesh Bank gives the PKB an official recognition and opens foreign exchange houses, run by the PKB, in other countries, this institution may become popular fast.
While 22 branches have been established across the country, a holistic publicity drive highlighting the facility of the low interest rate of 9 per cent is essential to pull migrant workers. The advertising campaign needs to be sponsored by the ministry of expatriate welfare which can take it to foreign countries that top the list in sending back earnings. One other function of the PKB is to help rehabilitate people who are forced to return. Every day a significant number of people come back with dreams deflated, though there is not any noticeable presence of the institution in the airport. Perhaps opening a booth at the airport with PKB help stickers at all entrance and exit gates will inspire more returnees to seek help.
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