• Inflows exceed $2bn for 10th straight month
• PM acknowledges contribution of overseas Pakistanis for their homeland

KARACHI: Remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis jumped 26 per cent, or $4.5 billion, year-on-year to record $21.468bn during the first nine months (July-March) of this fiscal year despite Covid challenges.

On a month-on-month basis, the remittances posted an increase of 43pc to $2.7bn in March. This was the 10th consecutive month when inflows from overseas Pakistanis exceeded the $2bn mark. Taking to social media platform Twitter, Prime Minister Imran Khan acknowledged the contribution of Pakistanis working abroad and said: “The love & commitment of Overseas Pakistanis to Pakistan is unparalleled. You sent over $2bn for 10 straight months despite Covid, breaking all records. Your remittances rose to $2.7bn in March, 43% higher than last year. So far this fiscal year, your remittances rose 26pc. We thank you.”

Average per month inflow of remittances during the current fiscal year has significantly increased to $2.385bn as compared to $1.888bn in FY20. Average inflows are even higher than the average monthly export proceeds of about $2bn.

Highest remittances were received from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) which reached $5.732bn during the last three quarters; an increase of 20 per cent or $957 million. Remittances from the country constituted about 27pc of the total inflows for Pakistan. Inflows have been increasing despite the fact that no new job-seekers reached the kingdom due to the coronavirus.

Remittances from United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased to $4.526bn up by 7.3pc — the second highest inflow from any single destination after KSA.

Inflows from the United Kingdom (UK) jumped by 62pc to $2.9bn during the last nine months. Additional remittances from the UK were more than $1.1bn. Similarly, inflows from the United States of America (USA) increased by 52pc to $1.9bn. In dollar terms, inflows increased by $656m from USA.

Pakistan received $2.458bn from other Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), noting an increase of 8.6pc compared to last year. Inflows from European Union countries noted a jump of 49pc as remittances during the nine months rose to $1.942bn.

Inflows from Australia and Canada increased by 91.5pc to $440m and 89pc to 394m, respectively, during the same period.

Currency dealers and experts said that if inflows follow the same pattern in the next three months, the country could receive up to $7bn which could make the final total for FY21 $28-29bn.

Higher inflows are expected in Ramazan which is falling in the last quarter of FY21. Higher remittances are received by the country in the holy month for Eid celebrations, Zakat and donations for charity.

Rising remittances helped the country to improve its foreign exchange reserves and appreciated the local currency. Since August 2020, the rupee has appreciated by over 8pc against the US dollar. The financial sector believes that the current exchange rate could sustain for another six months if the oil prices remain in the range of $50-60 per barrel.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021

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