Bangladesh curbs foreign travel for govt officials

DHAKA: In the backdrop of the post-Covid-19 economic recovery and a continued global crisis, Bangladesh has banned international trips of government officials under operating and development budgets.

According to reports, the country's Ministry of Finance issued a notification on Thursday saying that all types of foreign trips for all government officials, including exposure visits, study tours, workshops, and seminars, will be halted until further notice in order to relieve pressure on the country's forex reserve.

The decision will take effect immediately and will apply to both development and operations budgets, according to the statement. The move comes a day after Bangladesh's central bank tightened import limits for luxury and non-essential items such as SUVs, washing machines, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

The two actions are also expected to protect Bangladesh's foreign currency reserves, which have recently fallen to less than USD42 billion, but are still sufficient to meet the country's five-month import bills.  Forex reserves similar to six months' import bills are deemed adequate for a developing country like Bangladesh.

Due to a slowdown in imports and growing remittance and export revenues during the pandemic, Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves reached USD48 billion in August last year, the biggest in the country's history.

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