Friday, 13 July 2007

Overseas remittances not an unmixed blessing

Sri Lanka gets over $2 billion in the form of remittances from its citizens working overseas, mostly as unskilled and semi-skilled labour. The 1.5 million men and women, working mainly in the Middle East, are the second highest contributors to the country's foreign exchange kitty, after the garment exporters.

Workers' remittances help cushion Sri Lanka's huge trade deficit of $3.4 billion, points out Dr Sirimal Abeyratne of the University of Colombo.
"Without this money, the country will be in dire straits. The remittances help hold the value of the dollar from sliding perilously," economist Dr Harsha de Silva of the think tank LIRNE-Asia told Hindustan Times.
[Read more]

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