Govt sets sights on $24b foreign remittances target

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance said on Monday that a host of new measures being taken by the government are likely to help achieve the foreign remittances target of $24 billion set for the current fiscal year, ending June 2020. The growth in foreign remittances soared to $11.4 billion during the first half of fiscal year 2019-20, a statement issued by the ministry said. “Due to this increasing trend in remittances, the target of $24.0 billion at the end of FY2020 is likely to be achieved as the data of last five years suggests that the workers remitted more in the last six months as compared to the first six months of the fiscal year,” the handout explained. The finance ministry said that the seasonal effect was also a leading factor in boosting remittances and it is expected that with the start of Ramazan followed by EidulFitr, the flow of remittances will increase as the workers generally send more money during holy festivals and events. Providing a break-up of inflows during the July-December 2019 period, the statement said that the remittances reached $11.394 billion as compared to $11.030 billion in the corresponding period last year, showing a growth of 3.3 per cent. Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $2.097 billion in Dec 2019 as compared to $1.819 billion during November 2019. On a month-to-month basis, the remittances increased by $277.56 million in December, with a growth of 15.25pc, the highest recorded remittances in a month since May 2019. Similarly, on a year-to-year basis, remittances witnessed a growth of 20pc in Dec 2019 as compared to 0.14pc in the corresponding period last year. The share of remittances from Saudi Arabia was 23.0pc ($2,618.0 million), United Arab Emirates 20.6pc ($2,349.3m), United States 16.6pc ($1,889.8m), United Kingdom 15.4pc ($1,753.0m), other GCC countries 9.6pc ($1,089.20m), Malaysia 7.0pc ($798.0m), European Union 3.0pc ($339.2m) and other countries 4.8pc. The statement by the finance ministry further said that increased efforts by the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) helped to attract higher remittances from the Pakistani diaspora through enhancing outreach, reimbursement of T.T. Charges Scheme (free-send model) and improvements in payment system infrastructure, etc. According to the press release, the government has improved its diplomatic relations with the Gulf states which has helped restore the confidence of foreign employers in the Pakistani workforce. –Agencies