A majority of the expatriate Bangladeshis living in the Gulf countries such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain want to start their own business upon returning home, a study revealed.
A recent survey by Western Union on what the expatriates will do with 100,000 dirhams (Tk 20 lakh), if they win the prize of its ‘Send Money & Win Big’ promotion revealed the ambition of the non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), the leading money transfer company said in a statement.
The Gulf countries are home to about 80 percent of Bangladesh’s total expatriate workers of over 60 lakh, with Saudi Arabia topping the list with over 22 lakh workers, contributing about 10 percent to the country’s national economic growth.
More than two-thirds or 74 percent of the NRBs want to start their own business, while 26 percent wished to buy a home and 19 percent wished to donate to charity, according to the survey.
Ratheesh Kumar, Western Union’s regional vice president for South Asia and South East Asia, said: “The Western Union’s survey holds true to what all global workers aspire towards and that is building a better life for their families and loved ones.”
He said the consumer survey helped the company draw out the true desires of the NRB customers working in the Gulf. “Leaving home to create a better future back home is entrepreneurial itself, the study clearly indicates this passion and focus is still strong as ever.”
Kumar said in spite of migrating to the Gulf in search of better employment opportunities, NRBs have not lost out on their entrepreneurial spirit. “The results of the Western Union survey corroborate this statement, illustrating that NRBs are an enterprising, adventurous, risk-taking and a business-minded lot.”
Zaan e Alam, a Bangladeshi who works at a restaurant in Saudi Arabia, said, “If I win 100,000 dirhams, I will start my own restaurant back home. I will save the rest of the money for my future use.”
The second most important thing people said they wished to do is buying a house, the survey said.
The research also showed that 9 percent of the respondents would like to spend money on family, 6 percent would like to save, whereas 4 percent would like to buy either land or car.
Gyasuddin, another NRB who works at a grocery store in the UAE, said: “I will go back to Bangladesh and build a home for my family as well as build a mosque in my village. I would also like to use the money by donating to the poor and needy.”
Bangladeshi expatriates sent home around $11 billion worth of remittances in 2010.
Western Union operates a network of over 7,500 agent locations in Bangladesh, taking remittances to the beneficiaries.