Salman Khan
Salman Khan

KARACHI: Workers’ remittances in February did not disappoint the government as the inflow stood at around $2.2 billion, showing a growth of two per cent month-on-month.

However, the inflow witnessed a year-on-year growth of 7.6pc during the first eight months (July-February) of 2021-22.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday issued the latest data of remittances showing a 2pc growth in February on a month-on-month basis. However, it fell by 2.7pc in February when compared with the same month last year.

The country received $20.141bn in remittances during the first eight months of the current fiscal year compared to $18.7bn during the same period last fiscal, showing a growth of 7.6pc.

Inflow in February rises 2pc to $2.2bn

Pakistan expects to receive around $30bn in the current fiscal year. The amount is higher than the export proceeds. However, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has already led to an exorbitant increase in the prices of oil and other commodities in international markets, could be more painful for oil-importing countries like Pakistan and more foreign exchange would be needed.

Pakistan is getting oil from Saudi Arabia on deferred payments which have saved a big amount of foreign exchange. However, despite this favour, the country’s foreign exchange reserves have been declining since August 2021.

The country received the highest amount of $5.132bn from Saudi Arabia, with a growth of 2.6pc during eight months of FY22. The growth was 19.3pc during the same period last fiscal year.

Though the remittances from the United Arab Emirates declined by 4pc to $3.768bn, it was still the second biggest inflow for Pakistan. Last year’s inflow from the UAE was 6pc higher. An inflow of $2.322bn was received from other GCC countries, with a growth of 8.5pc. The growth last year was 5.7pc.

Against a very high growth of 56.6pc in eight months of FY21, the inflow from the United Kingdom during the current fiscal year recorded a growth of 10.3pc to $2.786bn.

The inflow from the United States was also very high last year with a growth rate of 46.5pc, but this year remittances showed an increase of 18.2pc to $1.911bn.

In recent years, the remittances from the European Union took a prominent place in the list of the countries sending around $2bn. The remittances from the EU stood at $2.224bn during July-February FY22, an increase of 30.4pc. The growth in FY21 was 45.7pc.

Australia and Canada also emerged as important destinations for remittances. The inflows from the two countries were $492 million and $440m, respectively. The growth in inflows from Australia dropped to 26pc this year against 88pc during the same period last year. The inflow from Canada recorded a growth of 30.4pc against 80pc last year.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2022

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