Sunday, 31 August 2008

India: Karnataka Bank launches inward remittance facility

Mangalore, Aug. 21 Karnataka Bank Ltd has launched ‘Quikremit’, a Web-based inward remittance facility for NRIs residing in Canada, the UK and the US.

Quoting Mr P. Jayarama Bhat, Chief General Manager of the bank, a press release said here on Thursday that this product facilitates the quickest and cheapest mode of remittance.

For this purpose, the bank has tied up with Citibank. This product can be used to remit money to anyone in India.

The remittance gets credited to the beneficiary’s account within 48 hours of the transaction beginning. The remitter abroad can avail of this facility without visiting his bank and can do so by debit to his account or using credit/debit cards.

The entire transaction is completed online by just a few clicks of the mouse, it said. The bank hopes to tap new clients for business with this product. [Source]

Uzbekistan: Ipak Yuli Bank joins Migom remittance system

28 August 2008, 09:10

CA-NEWS (UZ) - Ipak Yuli Bank has joined the international remittance system of Migom. Today, the bank operates seven international remittance systems - Anelik, MoneyGram, Bystraya Pochta, Unistream, Western Union, Contact, and Migom, reported Uzreport.

Migom is a system of international remittances for individuals that does not require the letter to open bank accounts. The system has been in operation since 2002, and is widely known in Russia and the CIS. The system has started to spread to other countries of the world. The total number of the system's service points exceeded 7,000 as of January 1 2008.

The arrival of the remittance takes about 5-10 minutes, and the commission charged for the transfer makes up 2-3% of the sum of the transfer. The beneficiary does not cover any of the costs.

Ipak Yuli Bank was founded on April 23 1990 and acts on the basis of the license of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. 10 of January 25 003. In 2005 the bank integrated a new system of remittances, Bystraya Pochta.

In 2006 the bank signed a Loan Agreement with the Asian Development Bank on small and micro-financing and an agreement on the extension of a credit line with the Islamic Corporation for Private Sector Development. The same year Ipak Yuli received the certificate of excellence from the leading German Bank, Commerzbank for high level of payment automation within the SWIFT format.

In 2006 the Coordinator of the CEMEA region in London made a positive decision on the admission of the bank to Visa International system.

In 2007 a new banking product, Ipak Yuli Online was integrated. The product provides access to information on the bank account at any time of the day from any part of Uzbekistan, and an opportunity to make online payments.

Also this year the bank started to provide Western Union and Unistream international remittance services. [Source]

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Ethiopia: Remittances reach one Bln USD

August 23, 2008

Muluken Yewondwossen

During the last fiscal year [July 07-July 08], Ethiopia earned one billion dollars from international remittances transferred from Ethiopian and foreign nationals. This exceeds by 367 million dollars the previous year’s remittances, according to a source within the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). In fiscal year 2006-07 the remittance was only 633 million dollars. The official report is expected at the end of August, added the source.

Of the total, 804 million dollars is sent to individuals while the balance is for organizations.
This year, Ethiopia generated 2.5 billion dollars in foreign exchange.

“The increase is the result of NBE’s directive issued in 2006 which allows money transfers,” stated the source.

The 2006 Remittance Service Providers (RSPs) directive indicated that users of this system can obtain information from access points such as bank branches, post offices and related organizations. The directive aims to improve the operations of the formal remittance service in Ethiopia, to reduce the costs of remittance transfer in Ethiopia and to increase access of international remittance service for nationals and make the service quick and reliable.

The major transfer types contained in international remittance transfer are personal transfer, funds for investment, international cash donations, deposit and service payments and temporary and permanent migrant transfers.

There are over 27 remittance service providers (RSPs) who work in collaboration with Ethiopian commercial banks. Source

Remittance service launched by Correos

This week a new international express postal order service was introduced by the Spanish postal operator Correos to enable fast money transfers to Uruguay. Eventually the system will be implemented for money transfers to Chile and Morocco.

During the 24th Congress of the Postal Universal Union (UPU) that was held in Geneva the Correos and Uruguayan Mail entered into partnership to initiate the new remittance service. At the moment the international urgent postal order is already operative in 60 offices of the Uruguayan Mail. It means that now customers my transfer their funds back and forth within just 15 minutes at a significantly reduced cost as compared with that offered by other money transfer services.

Basically the new service leverages International Financial System (IFS), developed by the Center of Postal Technologies of the UPU to provide a trustworthy and sure network for the transference of money by electronic means between the postal operators.Source

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Banking on the 'unbanked'

Although near field communication-based contactless mobile payments are gaining traction in more developed markets, peer-to-peer m-payments such as mobile money transfer are an established and fast-growing fact of life in many developing economies.

Peer-to-peer money remittances enable an expatriated worker to send money across international borders to family or friends. According to the World Bank, 175 million migrant workers each year send billions worth of international remittances to family and friends, many of whom do not have bank accounts. Last year international remittances reached $318 billion, of which recorded remittances to developing countries exceed $240 billion, up from $221 billion in 2006 and more than double the level reached in 2002.

India, Mexico and China were the top three recipients of remittances last year, accounting for nearly one-third received by the developing countries. In India, the largest remittance-recipient, private current transfers grew by 30% in the first half of 2007.

Philippines: 'Malling' consumes shoppers in the Philippines

In the Philippines, "malling" has become a verb, the act of going to a shopping mall and whiling away the hours.

The Southeast Asian country has three of the world's 10 largest shopping centers, two of them in the capital, Manila. Scores of others, ranging from modern glass and steel structures to older, fading buildings, dot cities across the archipelago.

Although over 40 percent of the country's 90 million people live on $2 or less per day, malls here are crowded at all times, and especially packed at weekends.

Around 80 percent of the Philippines' population go to shopping centers and around 36 million people visit shopping plazas once or twice a month, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"People just come to the mall to stay cool, said Chris Balberona, a driver for a bank, who was at Manila's Megamall watching ice-skaters on an artificial rink. [Read more]

Rwanda: Banque De Kigali Waives Charges On Diaspora Money


26 August 2008
Posted to the web 26 August 2008

David Mugalura

The 2nd Rwanda Diaspora Business Expo ended on a good note on Sunday in London with Banque de Kigali (BK), waiving off Bank Charges involved in remittances of money from Rwandans in the UK and many other parts of the world.

This offer is also extended to the transfer of money from BK to other accounts held in different banks in the country. Medium businesses in export sectors such as handicrafts, coffee, tea and agro-processing stole the show this year.

Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR), Banque de Kigali and Capital Market Advisory Council were other Kigali based companies present. [Read more]

Pakistan: Govt plans to double remittances over next two years

6 August 2008

ISLAMABAD — The government is vigorously planning to double workers’ remittances over the next two years by stepping up manpower export and by strengthening banks to discourage ‘hundi’ business.

“It is not a very difficult task to double annual remittances from $6 billion to $12 billion in the next two years by increasing the number of manpower from 2,87,000 to half a million plus annually”, Dr Ghayyur Sabur, Chairman, Policy Planning Cell of the Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis told this correspondent.

The government has prepared a migration policy which has been circulated to all relevant ministries, ministerial divisions and private sector organisations to considerably improve foreign exchange reserves. The new migration policy has also been submitted to the higher authorities for approval. It stipulates country-specific measures to increase manpower export to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Bahrain, he said.

These five countries, he pointed out, have prepared plans of over one trillion dollars to develop new cities, oil cities, motorways, highways and mega malls for which they need huge manpower. These countries were in the process of awarding contracts for undertaking huge development activities in the region. “The initial contact made with these countries is very encouraging to send our increased manpower there”, he said. [Read more]

Home Remittances By Nigerians Abroad Rise to $17.9 Billion

Nigerians living abroad remitted the sum of US$17.9 billion back home last year (2007), compared to the $10.5 and $6.5billion they remitted in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

The Federal Government's Economic Management Team (EMT), which disclosed this in Lagos recently, attributed the rising remittances to the increased confidence in the economy. The committee said the economy was buoyant and now well-rated by international rating agencies.

"Both Fitch and Standard and Poor rating agencies have reaffirmed Nigeria 's overall rating at BB-and indicated the outlook to be stable," said Dr. Shamsudden Usman, Finance Minister and Chairman of the Economic Management Team. [Read more]

Armenia Bans Western Union Transfers Over Karabakh

By Hovannes Shoghikian

The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) has banned the activities of the money transfer company Western Union following the latter’s decision to stop handling cash remittances to Nagorno-Karabakh taken under pressure from Azerbaijan.

The decision came just days after the Azerbaijani authorities ordered local commercial banks not to do business with Western Union and another world-famous company, MoneyGram, because they operate in Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s National Bank said on August 1 that any financial operations in “occupied Azerbaijani territories” are illegal.

In a statement on Monday, the CBA’s governing board condemned Western Union’s refusal to wire cash transfers to Karabakh through Armenian banks without a prior warning. It said the move “can harm the usual activity of the banks” and “influence the economic, financial and real sectors of the country’s economy.” [Read more]

Pacific Islands: Relief from High Remittance Costs – Here Now!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008, 3:18 pm
Press Release: PanPac

Relief from High Remittance Costs – Here Now!

Prime Minister Helen Clark’s announcement at the Pacific Islands Forum, that regulatory changes were being considered to help lower the cost of remit fees to the Pacific Islands, has been met with interest by specialist fund transfer operator Pan Pacific Transfers Ltd.

The Government, in line with World Bank wishes, are aiming to reduce costs for migrant workers in NZ sending money back to the Islands.

In a statement issued by PanPac, GM Nick Lissette says they have “been there, done that” and already smashed the target set by the Government of 5 -7% fee per send by 2009. “We have already lowered the cost of remittances to Samoa by over 60% since entry into the market and are currently charging a NZ$9 transfer fee.” PanPac have also offered more competitive exchange rates than banks and, importantly, improved service delivery. [Read more]

Boom in remittances arouses Western Union

August 26, 2008

By Mzwandile Jacks

Nairobi - A surge in inward remittances from $344 million (R2.7 billion at yesterday's exchange rate) in 2000 to $735 million last year could have prompted Western Union, the global money transfer firm, to open operations in South Africa in partnership with Absa, said a source.

The source - who did not want to be identified because the partners were not prepared to disclose the details before the date of the formal announcement - said the rise in remittances made South Africa attractive, with many of its people migrating to the UK, US and Australia.

"Remember, the UK has been hiring … our skilled healthcare practitioners and the US had also taken some of our people," said the source. "Australia, of course, we know that it is a destination of choice for many South Africans who leave the country. These have left families and friends behind and they are sending money to them."
[Read more]

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Western Union, Smart launch mobile phone-enabled remittance service

GLOBAL remittance firm Western Union Co. has tied up with local wireless service provider Smart Communications Inc. for a mobile phone-enabled money remittance service for Filipinos living and working abroad.

In a statement over the weekend, Smart announced the launch of its Smart Money platform, a reloadable payment card linked to a mobile phone, for overseas Filipino workers in Hawaii and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The company said it would gradually roll out the service for other Filipino communities abroad.

"We are pleased to combine Western Union’s global reach with Smart’s active subscriber base to pilot a low-denomination mobile remittance channel," said Matt Dill, senior vice-president and head of Western Union Digital Ventures.

An estimated 160,000 Filipinos live and work in Hawaii and over 500,000 Filipinos are found in the UAE.

When fully launched, the company said the service would eventually benefit the over nine million Filipinos abroad. [Read more]

Saturday, 23 August 2008

PAKISTAN: Rupee falls to record low, SBP pumps dollars

By Shahid Iqbal

KARACHI, Aug 22: Rupee fell steeply against the US dollar on Friday but recovered before the closing of the market, thanks to the State Bank of Pakistan which pumped millions of dollars to support the local currency.

The rupee fell twice to 77.20 against the dollar during the day which was a record low, but it recovered with the help of inflows and closed at Rs76.50.

Bankers said the State Bank finally entered the market to support the rupee facing frequent devaluation as it lost more than one-fifth of its value since the beginning of this year.

Bankers said the State Bank pumped at least $50 million through two large banks. However, currency dealers said it was the stuck-up dollar reserve which entered the market and the selling pressure slashed US currency.

The State Bank, which never accepts buying or selling of dollars, has been out of the market for more than six months.

It was mainly because of its depleting reserves which fell to half of what it was 10 months back. [Read more]

Remittances Offer Promise of New Revenue and New Markets to Banks

Banks finally are developing standards and collaborating to capitalize on the $15 billion revenue opportunity presented by the growing workers’ remittances market.
By Orla O'Sullivan
Bank Systems & Technology
August 22, 2008

See related sidebar: ICICI Captures Top Share of Remittance Market by Catering to Migrant Workers' Diverse Requirements

It's a $430 billion market, and banks have finally decided they want a real part of it. About 40 percent of the global funds transmitted annually by migrant workers to their home countries emanate from the U.S., yet banks here process only about 3 percent of world remittances, according to SWIFT estimates. That's poor even compared with banks' overall poor share (30 percent or less) of the global remittance pie.

And the pie is growing -- by various estimates ranging from 8 percent to 30 percent a year -- as business goes ever more global. Today's 200 million migrant workers represent $15 billion in annual remittance revenue, SWIFT estimates.

That's an opportunity largely conceded to money transfer operators (MTOs), such as Englewood, Colo.-based Western Union (whose business actually is facilitated by banks, which allow their branches to be used as a distribution network for Western Union's profits). Telcos, credit card companies and PayPal are also said to be eyeing the remittance opportunity. [Read more]

India Receives World's Largest Remittance Flows

Remittances – money sent home by immigrant workers abroad – are hugely beneficial to many countries across the world.India is the world’s top receiver of remittances. Flows into the country have grown dramatically in recent years, touching US$ 17.4 billion in 2003, up from some US$2 billion a year in the late 1980s.

Compiling the contributions of some 20 experts from different disciplines, Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects, edited by Samuel Munzele Maimbo and Dilip Ratha, discusses recent trends in remittance flows, and examines the key challenges countries face in harnessing these flows for development.

Remittances by international migrants to their home countries have grown dramatically in recent years. They are now the largest source of external finance for developing nations after foreign direct investment (FDI), even exceeding FDI in some. In others, they are greater than official development aid. [Read more]

Lebanon's remittance inflow reaches $5.5 billion in 2007 - report

By The Daily Star

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lebanon's remittance inflow reaches $5.5 billion in 2007 - report

BEIRUT: The World Bank indicated that inward remittance inflow into Lebanon reached $5.5 billion in 2007, up by 6.2 percent from $5.183 billion in 2006 and by 11.7 percent from $4.924 million in 2005, according to the 2008 edition of the "Migration and Remittances FactBook."

Bank Audi's Weekly Monitor, which published the report, said that the flow of remittances into the country has been on an upward trajectory from the year 2000 and until 2004. [Read more]

Thursday, 21 August 2008

HAITI: Relatives abroad offer food lifeline to Haiti poor

/21/2008, 3:06 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Nadia Renaud began shipping bags of rice, beans and other foodstuffs last spring to struggling relatives in Haiti, helping her brother ease the worries of providing for a sick mother who needs constant care.

At first the shipments were a welcome addition for her loved ones in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. Now they've become the family's lifeline amid worsening hunger, soaring food prices and a lack of arable land in the deforested island nation.

Renaud's brother and sister-in-law eke out livings as market vendors in Haiti's northwest coastal town of Port-de-Paix. But as food has become too expensive and too scarce, the couple now cannot afford many basic staples. [Read more]

Philippines: OFWs remitting more through formal channels, less on 'padala'

OFW Journalism Consortium

The amount of remittances being sent by overseas Filipinos through “padala”, or the money brought home by vacationing overseas Filipinos, has reached a seven-year low, based on data from the Philippines’s central bank.

Migration and remittances experts call these cash — amounting to $506 million in 2007— as “informal remittances.” This includes money that did not pass through “formal” banking channels.

Usually, informal remittances are sent through door-to-door companies, in particular those without partner banks, and courier services. Increasingly, some Filipino-run money transfer organizations with door-to-door services have partnered with commercial banks.

That 2007 figure was the lowest since the BSP, following the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments manual of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), started computing the amount of informal remittances in 2001 when the total volume was $1.69 billion. [Read more]

INDONESIA: Middle East region experiences growth in innovative remittance service

With the launch of Visa Money Transfer in Indonesia and the expansion of a program in Singapore, Visa is making it easier and more secure for people in 15 countries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia to send and receive funds.

Visa Money Transfer, a card-based service enabling a Visa cardholder to send funds conveniently and securely to another Visa cardholder, debuted in Ukraine in 2003.

Since then, the service has been extended to millions of people who no longer need to wait at a money transfer agent's office, but instead can use the convenience and security of their 16-digit Visa account number to send and receive money.

Depending on their issuing bank, they can execute the transfer at a bank branch, using the internet, via an ATM or via mobile phone. [Read More]

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Mexico: Drop in Remittances Sparks Debate Between Mexico and Its Migrants

La Opinión, News Digest, Gardenia Mendoza Aguilar and Eileen Truax, Translated by Suzanne Manneh, Posted: Aug 18, 2008

Drop in Remittances Felt by Mexican Families

Remittances to Mexico are down and people like Rosalinda Ortiz, who depend on money sent from the United States, are feeling the impact on their wallets. Ortiz’s husband, an undocumented immigrant who worked as a bricklayer in Wisconsin, stopped sending her money six months ago when he lost his job. Since then, he has traveled to various states in search of work: Illinois, Nevada, and even Texas, where he considered crossing the border back to Mexico.

To support herself and her three children, Ortiz opened a traveling quesadilla shop in her community north of the state of Guerrero, and earns 400 pesos a week — the equivalent of $40 — just enough to cover her family's basic expenses.

Most families that depend on remittances spend the money on food, medicine and their children's education. They can’t afford to put money into savings toward building their own homes or other expenses.

"Mexico is addicted to and very dependent on remittances," asserted Rodolfo Garcia Zamora, developmental studies researcher at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (UAZ). [Read More]

Pakistan: Pakistan lender starts e-remittance services

Staff Report
Published: August 15, 2008, 21:26

Dubai: Allied Bank has rolled out its e-Remittance services to facilitate international remittances sent to Pakistan by overseas Pakistanis.

The bank said a host of top international banks, exchange houses and fund transfer companies from across the world, including the Middle East, Eur-ope, Asia-Pacific and North America, have been activated on this modern platform.

A comprehensive suite of options is available to non-resident Pakistanis under this service, including direct credit to account, cash payment over the counter, and issuance of the Allied Express cheque, a payment instrument that can be honoured across the entire Allied Bank network of branches, it said. [Read more]

Remittances from Saudi Arabia top $16.2bn

0 August 2008
RIYADH: The total remittances sent from Saudi Arabia exceeded $16.2 billion last year, ranking it as the second largest country in terms of remittance outflows followed by Switzerland and Germany. The US, which has been the top immigration country, is also by far the largest source of outflows, with more than $42 billion in recorded remittance transfers annually.

This was disclosed by Sami Al-Rajhi, who has been appointed as head of Enjaz Network, the remittance division of Bank Albilad, here yesterday. A versatile banker Al-Rajhi, who brings with him more than 20 years of experience, will be responsible for operating the Enjaz remittance centers Kingdomwide. He has also been entrusted with the task to respond to regulatory authorities, working with auditing teams and take corrective measures to boost Enjaz operation.

Referring to the new World Bank report on remittances with special reference to Saudi Arabia, Al-Rajhi said: "For 2007, recorded remittances flows worldwide are estimated at $318 billion, of which $240 billion went to developing countries." "However, these flows don't include informal channels, which would significantly enlarge the volume of remittances if they were recorded," said the Enjaz official, while referring to hawala modes of sending money. [Read more]

Philippines: OFW remittance fees will go to corruption, says group

MANILA, Philippines - A migrant workers advocacy group on Wednesday said that the exorbitant fees being collected from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will not go to the national budget but to the pockets of corrupt politicians.

Migrante International chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado told GMANews.TV in an interview that the government is intensifying its collection tactics to earn more from our workers overseas.

Private cash transfer firm Western Union Co. has already begun collecting documentary stamp tax from money sent home by OFWs.

Patricia Riingen, regional vice president for Western Union, said in a recent briefing that this is not part of their company’s remittance charges and that the revenue will actually be remitted to the national government. [Read more]

Monday, 18 August 2008

Caribbean Diaspora playing important financial role, but there is a brain drain

Published on Monday, August 18, 2008 Email To Friend Print Version

By Oscar Ramjeet
Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands: The Caribbean Diaspora is increasing rapidly especially in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

A few Caribbean countries, especially Jamaica, Guyana and Grenada, have recognised this and are working in collaboration with organisations that represent the Diaspora to assist in nation-building of their countries.

However, there is a disturbing area of concern for Caribbean countries, with the revelation that migration of tertiary-educated citizens is on the increase, which could have serious implications in the not too distant future.

Nigeria: Remittances from Nigerians abroad hit $17.9 billion

August 18, 2008

By Chijama Ogbu Business Editor
Remittances from Nigerians abroad almost doubled last year, rising to $17.9 billion from $10.5 billion in 2006, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, said in Lagos.

This shows a significant growth in the level of the remittances in the past two years in comparison with the 2005 figure, which stood at $6.5 billion.

Usman, who spoke in Lagos last week, said the growth in remittances from abroad underscored the growing confidence in the Nigeria’s economy.

Remittances provide the backbone for the economies of many developing countries, including those of Kenya, Ghana and Philippines, where they account for about 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Monies sent home by Nigerians living abroad are spent on food, education and health needs of the senders’ relatives; as well as on investments in real estate, stock exchange and the transport sector.

Analysts predict that slowing global growth may limit jobs abroad as companies lay off workers and freeze expansion, reducing the amount of money expatriates can send home in the coming months. Many Nigerians are living in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other developed economies.

Gulf meets on turning Indian remittances into investments

August 18th, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS - Email This Post Email This Post

Dubai, Aug 18 (IANS) Two investor meets will be held in the Gulf in November this year under an Indian government initiative to help overseas Indians channelise their remittances into actual investments back in the country.The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), a single window investment facilitation centre set up under a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), will hold these two meets in Dubai and Oman’s capital Muscat.

These will be part of a series of investor meets the OIFC will be holding in places across the world with significant Indian population.

“A curtain-raiser event of these investor meets was held in Oman Sunday,” an official in the Indian embassy in Muscat told IANS. [Read more]

Capitalbank becomes agent of MoneyGram remittance system

18 August 2008, 10:19
CA-NEWS (UZ) - Capitalbank became an agent of MoneyGram remittance system, the bank said. This is the fifth system, services of which Capitalbank will provide to its clients. The bank also offers services of Western Union, Contact, Migom and Bystraya Pochta, reported Uzreport.

The bank said that money transfer services are highly demanded among population and the bank is trying to expand its relations with the remittance system and provide a wide range of services for choice.

Large branch network of Capitalbank will provide opportunity for all citizens of Uzbekistan from various regions to use new service. The bank said MoneyGram is a comfortable system and the minimal fee for money transfer is US$5. [Read more]

Bangladesh: Dependence on remittance on rise

Pulack Ghatack

The country is becoming increasingly dependent on the remittances from the expatriate workers, as it is being more and more helpless to clear its liabilities from its export earnings.

Imports of essentials including staple food, rice have been rising. Imports of oil, capital machineries and primary products are also on the rise as the countries industrial production is heavily depended on imported raw materials.

At the same time fashionable and luxurious items are also glutting the domestic markets to cater to growing number of the rich whose income and assets are ballooning in sharp contrast to the vast majority.

Imports for July-May this year went up by more than 24 percent from a year earlier, while exports increased by 15.27 percent bringing the trade deficit to US $5.04 billion from US $3.29 billion in the same period of last year. [Read more]

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Philippines: OFWs in Austria say inflation hurting families in RP

ABS-CBN Europe News Bireau, Austria

The announcement by the Arroyo government that inflation in the Philippines rose to 12.2 percent in July, the highest in almost 17 years and amid a rise in food and fuel prices, has shocked a number of average Filipino earners in Austria.

A Philippine National Bank official in Vienna told ABS-CBN News that this could be a big blow to overseas Filipino workers, many of whom take jobs as domestic helpers.

Raquel T., 45, has held such a job in Austria for 16 years. She earns about 600 Euros a month.

In peso terms, she earns P42,000, (1 Euro = 68 Pesos). She used to send P20,000 (300 Euros) a month home, but the higher living costs in Austria have cut that to P15,000 (220 Euros). In addition to this are the expenses for her personal needs such as apartment rent, food and other things. Raquel helps support her family in the Philippines – three are in college and her husband maintains a small welding shop.
[Read more]

Friday, 15 August 2008

Philippines: More Pinoy seafarers

MORE cadet scholars are expected to be trained to become significant contributors to the country and its maritime industry as the University of Cebu (UC) inaugurated last Wednesday the UC-NSA building at the UC Lapulapu-Mandaue (UCLM) Campus.

The building houses 38 classrooms, two physical fitness gyms, swimming pools, canteen, recreation area, drafting and plotting rooms, as well as laboratories for physics and chemistry classes. It also houses a computer laboratory with 50 computer units, a Full Mission Bridge Simulator, equipped with Radar/Arpa Simulator software, and an automatic identification system.

Adjacent to the building is a dormitory that has 32 rooms for male and female scholars.

UC’s initial investment for the buildings was P80 million, but UC chairman Augusto Go said the total project cost could very well reach P100 million.

Go is hoping that UC’s partner, the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), will put up more facilities in the building. [Read more]

USA: Conditions allow about 500 Sudan immigrants to stay, work in US with temporary legal status

By Associated Press
10:53 AM EDT, August 14, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Immigrants from Sudan granted temporary legal status can stay and continue to work in the U.S. if they reregister with the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government said Thursday.

The government is extending temporary protected status for Sudanese immigrants through May 2, 2010. The extensions are available only to immigrants from Sudan who entered the U.S. by Oct. 4, 2007. Applications to re-register can be filed from Aug. 15 through Oct. 14, Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Homeland Security Department, said in a news release.

Work permits for Sudanese immigrants who currently have temporary protected status also will be extended. Those due to expire Nov. 2, 2008 will be extended to May 2, 2009. [Read more]

USA: Minorities might be U.S. majority in a generation

By SAM ROBERTS | The New York Times
August 15, 2008

Ethnic and racial minorities will make up a majority of the nation's population in a little more than a generation, according to new Census Bureau projections.

The transformation is occurring faster than expected just a few years ago.

The census calculates that by 2042, Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites. Four years ago, officials had projected the shift would occur in 2050.

The main reason for the accelerating change is significantly higher birth rates among immigrants. Another factor is the influx of foreigners, rising from about 1.3 million annually today to more than 2 million a year by mid-century, according to projections based on current immigration policies.

UK firms face migrant work fees

Businesses who use skilled workers from outside of the EU will need to pay between £300 and £1,000 from later this year, under new immigration rules.

The Home Office's Border Agency (UKBA) is launching a TV ad campaign alerting employers to immigration changes.

The charges are part of a continuing and major overhaul of the UK's economic migration system.

Immigration chief Lin Homer said the changes would ensure only workers needed by the UK would be allowed in.

Under the new rules, workers from outside the European Union will be subject to new vetting procedures, known as "Tier Two" of the points-based immigration system.
[Read more]

Filipino workers' remittances surge 30 pct in June

ate : August 15, 2008

Remittances from Filipinos abroad surged 30 percent in June to US$1.5 billion _ the highest monthly inflow since 1989, thanks to a rise in the number of overseas workers, the Philippine central bank said Friday.

The June figure brought the six-month remittance level to US$8.2 billion, up 17.2 percent from the same period a year ago, a bank statement said.

Central bank Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. said the sustained rise in the number of Filipinos seeking employment overseas contributed to the robust figures.

Some 8 million Filipinos _ or nearly 10 percent of the population of about 90 million _ work overseas. Last year, they sent home US$14.45 billion. [Read more]

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Pakistan: Pakistani workers remitted more than $ 627 mln in July

Updated at: 0805 PST, Wednesday, August 13, 2008

KARACHI: Pakistani workers remitted a record amount of 627.21 million dollars during July 2008 as against 495.69 million dollars in the same month of last fiscal year , showing a jump of 131.52 million dollars or 26.53%.

The amount of $ 627.21 million includes $ 0.05 million received through encashment and profit earned on Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates (FEBCs) and Foreign Currency Bearer Certificates (FCBCs) , says a statement issued by State Bank of Pakistan here on Tuesday.

The previous highest amount remitted in a single month by Pakistani workers was recorded in March 2008 when an amount of 602.21 million dollars was received in the country. [Read more]

Mobile Banking: Juniper Research Forecasts Mobile Money Transfers Opportunity for Service Providers to Exceed $5bn by 2013

Look who's making money? - Sunchild

Wed Aug 13, 3:55 AM ET

A new analysis by Juniper Research forecasts that Service Provider revenues, derived from mobile money transfer services and remittances, will exceed $5bn globally by 2013 - based on the commissions and charges that they will acquire from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally.

Hampshire, UK (PRWEB) August 13, 2008 -- A new analysis by Juniper Research forecasts that Service Provider revenues, derived from mobile money transfer services and remittances, will exceed $5bn globally by 2013 - based on the commissions and charges that they will acquire from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally. [Read more]

Mobile Banking: Juniper Research Forecasts Mobile Money Transfers Opportunity for Service Providers to Exceed $5bn by 2013

Look who's making money? - Sunchild

Wed Aug 13, 3:55 AM ET

A new analysis by Juniper Research forecasts that Service Provider revenues, derived from mobile money transfer services and remittances, will exceed $5bn globally by 2013 - based on the commissions and charges that they will acquire from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally.

Hampshire, UK (PRWEB) August 13, 2008 -- A new analysis by Juniper Research forecasts that Service Provider revenues, derived from mobile money transfer services and remittances, will exceed $5bn globally by 2013 - based on the commissions and charges that they will acquire from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally. [Read more]

Sri Lanka: Seylan in tie up with Korean Bank to provide special remittance services

Seylan Bank entered into a business co-operation agreement with Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), to provide a special and an unparallel remittance service to Sri Lankan migrant workers. Korea Exchange Bank is the leading Bank in Korea which provides specialized services for migrant workers. As per the co-operation agreement reached, the Korea Exchange Bank will offer remittance services through their 326 branch network and over 9,000 ATM outlets.

Sri Lankan migrant workers to Korea can now enroll with this scheme through Seylan Bank’s office at the Foreign Employment Bureau and enjoy a host of remittance services jointly offered by the Seylan Bank and Korea Exchange Bank. Migrant workers who sign up will open a NRFC account with Seylan Bank and an interest bearing Savings Account with Korea Exchange Bank. [Read more]

Friday, 8 August 2008

Mexico: Fewer Dollars Crossing Border


The Associated Press

Published: August 7, 2008

ATOTONILCO, Mexico - Mexicans working in other countries are sending less money home, threatening businesses, stalling construction and choking cash flow to hamlets where as much as half the population works in the United States.

Analysts said stepped-up immigration raids and the slowdown in the U.S. economy accounted for the drop in the payments, which many migrants use to sustain families back home.

The payments, or remittances, have fallen about 2 percent this year, to $11.6 billion, the first such drop in more than a decade since reliable records have been kept, Mexico's Central Bank said Wednesday. [Read More]

Somalia: Returning to Somaliland to shape the future

August 8, 2008 - 3:59 AM
Returning to Somaliland to shape the future
By Hussein Ali Nur and Guled Mohamed

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters) - Almis Yahye Ibrahim remembers when he and his friends hit on the idea of building a university in one of the world's most neglected corners, the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

It was the winter of 1997, and they were hanging out in Helsinki's cafes, keeping the Finnish winter at bay. That's when they dreamt up the International Horn University.
Four years ago, armed with diplomas and savings and driven by a desire to make a difference, the three men and another friend who had been in Malaysia returned home to build their dream. The towering university now stands in Somaliland's hilly capital Hargeisa. [Read more]

Philippines: Housing boom in Visayas

AN official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attributed the boom in residential property development on the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Ludivinia Gador, deputy director for the BSP economic statistics department, said OFW remittances is the main factor behind the increase in residential building construction in Central and Western Visayas.

In Central Visayas, a total of 4,232 residential buildings were constructed in the first half of 2007 while there were 1,324 built
in Western Visayas for the same period. [Read more]

Hispanic Community Struggles to Maintain Financial Support Abroad

August 7, 2008

Felix Medrano stepped into the Western Union office, filled out a money transfer form and handed a fraction of his monthly earnings to a cashier behind a smudgy window.

“The second day is more cheap,” Medrano said, as he dropped the envelope under the tiny hole in the glass.

Medrano, a construction worker living in the Route 1 corridor of Alexandria, is among one of the millions of Latinos in the United States who send money back to their home countries. Virginia’s Hispanics still send an estimated $1.1. billion, but the amount of remittances in the U.S. has decreased dramatically since the 1990s and the dwindling economy only makes matters worse. [Read more]

Bangladesh: Remittance, exports likely to offset taka depreciation

The taka is unlikely to depreciate against the US dollar in the near future, thanks to strong performance by wage earners' remittance and exports that would offset the import-driven demand for the greenback, reports UNB.

"The exports recovered to a large extent lately and rose about 16 per cent in the last fiscal, though a little short of the target, while remittance has been robust," a high official of Bangladesh Bank told the news agency Wednesday.

He was hopeful that the exports and remittance would continue to increase in the near future.

However, the official expressed concern over the sorry state of the energy (gas) supply situation and wondered whether the exporters would be able to continue their production. [Read more]

Caribbean: Remittances contributing big to Caribbean GDP

WASHINGTON DC, United States, August 7, 2008 - A 2008 World Bank report has revealed that remittances are contributing significantly to Caribbean economies.

The situation is particularly stark in Guyana as increasing numbers of Guyanese leave home to live elsewhere. The report pointed out that the money they are sending back home is playing a growing role in the country's economy. [Read more]

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Bangladesh: Overseas Workers Remitted $829M To Bangladesh In July

August 5, 2008 11:42 a.m. EST

Siddique Islam - AHN South Asia Correspondent

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) - Bangladeshis working abroad sent home a record $829 million in July 2008, marking a 46.27 percent growth over the corresponding period the previous year, officials said on Tuesday.

"The monthly remittance figure of July is a new record in the country's history after March, 2008" a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country's central bank, told AHN, adding that $808 million was remitted in March.

The official also said the bank expects an increase in inward remittances this month prior to the 'Id festival.

In June 2008, remittance were worth $753.58 million, according to BB statistics.

The remittance earnings in the first months of the current fiscal year came as a continuation to last fiscal's trend and record inflow of $7.939 billion. The growth in 2007-08 was 32.38 percent over the previous fiscal year.

The country's foreign exchange reserve stood at $5.82 billion on that day, thanks to a robust growth of remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad, they added.

[Read more]

Vietnam: Overseas Remittances Rise Sharply This Year

August 4, 2008

The amount of overseas remittances from overseas Vietnamese has grown dramatically this year, according to a banking authority.

Nguyen Ngoc Lam, deputy director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Foreign Exchange Management Department, said overseas remittances to Vietnam in the first half of this year reached about US$5 billion, up US$300 million over last year.

The amount of such remittances is expected to reach US$8 billion by the end of the year.

In the past, overseas remittances came mostly from Vietnamese living in America, Australia and Europe, but more are being sent by people who live in Asia and the Middle East.

Tran Van Trung, director of Eastern Asia Overseas Remittance Co of Eastern Asia Bank (Dong A Bank), said those markets had grown sharply recently. [Read more]

Friday, 1 August 2008

Special Reports, 8/1/2008 1:44 AM August 1, 2008 Working abroad still most Filipinos' choice to cope with difficult times


Several economic crises have swept over the country and Filipinos time and again fought and emerged survivors.

But unlike two decades ago when they took to the streets in desperation because of the twin impact of soaring inflation and shrinking growth, Filipinos, who are now faced with a similar situation, have become more forbearing.

"We've gone through a worse crisis before. People are calmer because even if they're digging deeper into their pockets, it's not as extensively as before," Pulse Asia executive director Anna Maria Tabunda told [Read more]