KARACHI: The amount of money sent home by Pakistani migrants living abroad increased in 10 months of the current fiscal year by 3.92 percent versus a year ago, the State Bank of Pakistan figures showed on Thursday.
Remittances totalled $16.257 billion in July-April FY18, compared with $15.643 billion in the same period last year. In April, the figure was $1.650 billion. That was 6.89 percent lower than March 2018.
Most remittances came from United Kingdom and United States of America followed by countries in the European Union. Robust economic growth and low unemployment helped increase remittance flows from the US. Furthermore, strong growth in the UK and a sharp appreciation of British pound against the US currency led to significant rise in the dollar value of remittances originating from UK.
Remittances from UK stood at $2.263 billion, showing an increase of 22.34 percent over the corresponding period of the last fiscal. Inflows came at $2.188 billion in July-April FY18, up 12.89 percent from July-April FY17.
Remittances from the EU region increased 42.48 percent to $533.63 million in the 10 months of this fiscal year. However, Pakistani expatriates working in Saudi Arabia sent home $4.090 billion during July-April FY18, which is 9.46 percent lower than that remitted in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
Pakistan Economic Survey for 2017/18 said decline in remittances from the kingdom was on account of economic reforms like job nationalisation drive to replace foreign workers with Saudi citizens. “Saudi Arabia along with UAE has introduced value-added tax on wholesale and retail sale which increased the cost of living for unskilled lower income workers,” it said.
“Majority of the Pakistani manpower proceeds abroad in unskilled labourer trade. The overall decline in unskilled occupation is 28.51 percent during July-December FY18 as compared to the same period last year,” it noted. The country received $3.623 billion from UAE in July-April FY18 from $3.487 billion a year ago. Those living in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries sent home $1.815 billion, which was 3.55 percent lower than the 10 months of last year. Pakistan is forecast to receive between $19.5 and $20.5 billion in foreign remittances this year. Remittances were registered at $19.3 billion in FY17.
The government expects to meet $20.6 billion workers’ remittances target if an upward trend continues in remaining two months, according to the Pakistan Economic Survey.