Remittances remain over $2bn for sixth consecutive month

Published December 12, 2020
Migrant workers walk pushing bicycles along a street in Dubai’s Satwa district in this file photo. —AFP
Migrant workers walk pushing bicycles along a street in Dubai’s Satwa district in this file photo. —AFP

KARACHI: Remittances in to the country remained well above the $2 billion mark in November for the sixth consecutive month despite recording a slight increase compared to inflows in October.

The data released by the State Bank of Pakistan on Friday show­ed remittances in November clocked in at $2.34bn, up 2.4 per cent month-on-month from October.

However, the growth in the first five months of the current fiscal year was 27pc compared to the same period last fiscal year.

“During July-Nov FY21, workers’ remittances have reached an unprecedented level of $11.77bn, 26.9pc higher than the same period last year,” said the SBP.

Pakistan has relied heavily on remittance flows as reflected from the total foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP which were at $13.298bn last week; just $1.5bn higher than the total inflows through remittances during the five months.

Another important trend in the remittances was highlighted by the SBP which said that on average, workers’ remittances have been about half a billion ($499 million) higher in each month of FY21 as compared to the same period last year.

The SBP in its annual report released earlier warned the government over possible mass expatriationof overseas Pakistani workers from the Arab states and asked for a comprehensive plan to resettle these millions of Pakistanis in the country. The central bank said that this immigration is a consequence of falling oil income of the gulf economies as global demand has taken a hit due to Covid-19. Moreover, political realignment in the Middle East could also reduce the flow of workers from Pakistan into these countries.

According to SBP, workers’ remittances in November were 28.4pc higher compared to the same month last year.

The central bank said the continued efforts taken by the government and SBP to formalise remittance flows under the Pakistan Remittances Initiative, rising use of digital channels amid limited cross-border travel, orderly exchange market conditions and improvement in global economic activity are some of the important factors behind the sustained improvement in workers’ remittances.

During the five months, highest remittances were received from Saudi Arabia, rising by 28.2pc to $3.33bn. Meanwhile, a big jump was noted in remittances from the United States and UK as inflows from these countries increased by 52pc and 53.7pc to $1bn and $1.55bn respectively.

However, the second highest inflows came from United Arab Emirates at $2.444bn, recording a growth of 7.6pc.

During the five months, remittances from the GCC increased by 8.5pc to $1.338bn. The inflow from European Union also increased by 37.3pc to $1.024bn.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2020

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