KARACHI: Remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis grew by 15 per cent during the first nine months of this fiscal year, with much of the money coming in from the Arab world.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Friday that the country received $13.327 billion in the first nine months (July-March) of this fiscal year compared to $11.586bn in the corresponding period last year.
The high growth of remittances is of great value for the country struggling to improve its foreign exchange reserves through borrowing from international lenders and selling bonds on the international markets.
The rising remittances from Arab countries could be a source of concern for the government in the wake of deteriorating situation due to growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Details show that remittances from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries constituted 64.4pc (collectively $8.589bn) of the total remittances received during the period.
In FY14, the same Arab countries contributed 61.5pc, a total amount of $9.738bn. The entire remittances in FY14 were $15.837bn.
The State Bank said the remittances from the United States and the United Kingdom also increased by 2.6pc and 2.3pc respectively. Pakistanis from US sent $1.871bn and $1.670bn were sent from the United Kingdom.
Pakistan’s dependence on remittances has greatly increased in last eight to ten years and got the central place in the economy, particularly on the external front.
Per month average of remittances has substantially increased this year. If the monthly average remains $1.480bn ($1.287bn in nine months in FY14), the country could accumulate close to $18bn remittances which would be higher than the foreign exchange reserves of the country.
The foreign exchange reserves of the country are $16.7bn. The finance minister recently said the reserves could reach $18bn at the end of this fiscal year.
During March 2015, the inflow of workers’ remittances amounted to $1.576bn, which is 13.3pc higher than February 2015 and 18pc higher than March 2014.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2015