Saturday, 28 February 2009
When Renato Canlapan lost his job at a Taiwanese fiberglass plant last month, he didn't even have enough money for the bus fare home.
That was a blow not just to him, but to family members back in his native Philippines — where he sent a good portion of the $500 he earned every month. The cash supported siblings, parents, grandparents, uncle, aunts and cousins.
Without his help, Canlapan says, they must "minimize the money they spend on food."
Kenyans abroad remitted Sh3.1 billion ($39.5 million) last month, data from Central Bank of Kenya show.
This represented a 36.5 per cent drop compared to more than Sh4 billion ($53.9 million) remitted in January last year.
The data also shows a sustained decline in the amount remitted into the country over the past one year. Read more
Thursday, 26 February 2009
During the signing of the memorandum of agreement in Makati City, Michael Lhuillier, vice president of M Lhuillier Financial Services Inc., said the partnership will enable millions of overseas Filipino workers in different parts of the globe to send in money back to their families in the Philippines in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
He said one of the unique feature of the money transfer service the companies offer is that an OFW has now a choice if he wants to avail of the dollar-to-dollar payout or the traditional way, which is converting the foreign currency to Philippine peso.
"We want to provide them a choice if the customers come in and they want to hold on to their green buck for speculation purposes," Lhuillier said. Read more
BBC News, Manila
Job seeker searches for photograph at jobs fair, Manila, 23 Feb 09
Jobs at home in the Philippines and abroad are harder to find
In the Philippines, about eight million people - one in 10 adults - work abroad.
Millions of families depend on the money they send back.
But now a crisis is looming - as the economic downturn means thousands are losing their jobs overseas and being sent home.
Migrant workers are called "the new heroes" in the Philippines because of the contribution they make to the national economy.
The money they send home to their relatives is crucial, paying for food, shelter and education.
But now a growing number - already in the thousands - are being forced home because they have lost their jobs. Read more
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
When the globe started feeling the effects of the financial crisis started in the United States of America, some of the fears were that Ghana would be affected in the area of foreign remittances into the country. Ghana’s economy depends heavily on remittances by Ghanaians abroad to families back home.
As many in the developed world lost jobs, the ripple effects of job losses by Ghanaians abroad was projected to translate into a drop in remittances, but at a press conference addressed by the Governor of the country’s central bank on Tuesday February 24, 2009, Dr. Paul Acquah, who is also the chairman of the MPC, the indications were not as feared.
Remittances into Ghana has increased and not decreased as projected. Read more
Sunday, 22 February 2009
INTERNATIONAL POLICY CONFERENCE: The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Migrants’ Remittances and its Implications for Development
DATE: Saturday, 21 March 2009
In the search for effective responses to the challenges that the current global economic crisis poses to states and non state actors alike, COS Utrecht, Oxfam Novib, Afroeuro Foundation and ICPMD (International Center for Migration Policy Development) are organising an international conference aimed at exploring its impact on migrants’ remittances.
The conference will bring together policy makers, researchers and practitioners to discuss, share views and experiences with the objective of reaching common understanding of the challenges caused and policy gaps revealed by the crisis.
Through keynotes, panel discussions and workshops the conference aims at raising awareness among the participants on the impact of the crisis on migrants’ remittances and on development, highlighting good practices and coping mechanisms of migrants and explore possible policy options addressing these short-comings.
The conference will also address key questions such as ‘capacity building’ for migrant organisations (to enhance their practical and strategic skills), a matter which has arisen in policy debates as a promising means to unleash migrants´ development potential.
The panel discussions will address the following topics:
- The Global Economic Crisis and Migrants’ Remittances;
- Economic Downturn and Migrants’ Coping Mechanisms;
- Harnessing Migrants’ Remittances for Development: Best Practices and Initiatives. Capacity building as an enabling tool?
Four working groups will bring together a mix of policy makers and practitioners to explore policy recommendations in the light of two key subject matters:
- Remittances for Development: Stakeholder Engagement
2. Migrant Capacities and Development of Country of Origin
For more information, contact:
COS Utrecht – Tel: 0031-(0) 6 2352 6962 / 030 2311094 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Afroeuro Foundation – Tel: 0031-(0)6 1981 8281 / Email: email@example.com
Saturday, 21 February 2009
By our correspondent
KARACHI: Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar has said that the federal government wants to enhance home remittances from $7 billion per annum to $15 billion.
He said: “We are trying to utilise latest technology for fast and on-time delivery of remittances sent by Pakistanis living abroad and in this regard a high-level meeting would be held in the last week of February at Karachi in which representatives of local and foreign banks, mobile phone companies and information technology experts would participate.”
Addressing a ceremony held in honour of S M Muneer, President Indo-Pak Chamber of Commerce, by Munir Sultan, Chairman KK Builders, Sattar further said that with some measures it is possible to enhance remittances up to $15 billion in the next one to two years and then Pakistan will not be compelled to turn to the IMF in the future. Sattar said a fast and proper channel with some new facilities was needed to encourage overseas Pakistanis to use banking and legal means to remit their valued amount. Source
Before Robert Mugabe's government officially endorsed foreign currency, long queues would form outside banking halls to exchange foreign bank notes for Zimbabwean dollars, but since the use of foreign currency has been permitted the queues have shifted to commercial banks, where money transfers are processed.
An executive at a commercial bank in the capital, Harare, who declined to be named, told IRIN that the bank had opened two additional counters specifically to deal with money transfers.
BARCELONA, Spain — The global economic downturn is slowing growth in remittances and could hinder efforts by wireless carriers and financial companies to persuade people to transfer money with their mobile phones.
"The workers that are traveling overseas are losing their jobs," Matt Dill, a senior vice president at Western Union Co. and the head of its digital ventures unit, said here this week at the Mobile World Conference sponsored by the GSM Association, a wireless trade group.
"People are going to be saving more, sending less, [but] trying to maintain communication with their families," Mr. Dill said, and many people might not want to experiment with new ways to send money home.
Western Union has been a part of the GSM Association's Mobile Money Transfer program since it was introduced in 2007. Read more
Thursday, 19 February 2009
It forecast the ranks of unemployed workers would likely balloon to 97 million in 2009 in Asia, the world economy's star performer in recent years but where a third of the population still live on a little over 1 U.S. dollar a day. Last year, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.
In the most pessimistic scenario, the number of unemployed could swell to 113 million, or 22.3 million more than last year, the ILO said in a report on the crisis' fallout in Asia. Read more
If all goes well, Western Union money transfer in three major currencies - the British Pound Sterling, the Euro and American Dollar - will soon be made possible via mobile phones, the Global System of Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) announced in Barcelona, Spain yesterday.
An initiative of the Mobile Money Transfer (MMT), unit of GSMA, the scheme when it kicks off in the next few months, will enable beneficiaries to use their handsets as terminals for payments in conjunction with Western Union-appointed banks in various countries. Read more
Migrants are less fickle sources of cash than foreign creditors
QUEUES of migrant workers waiting to send money to their families hardly present globalisation at its most glamorous. But such remittances made up more than a fifth of the GDP of some countries such as Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova and Tajikistan in 2007.
Data compiled by researchers at the World Bank suggest that remittances may have another virtue that is less widely appreciated. Although they are likely to fall as a result of the slumping world economy, they may be less fickle than more publicised private-capital flows, such as equity and lending by foreign banks. Read More
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) During the last six months Ethiopia has received $389 million in remittances from its citizens living in the diaspora, according to the Ethiopian National Bank.
The bank said this reflects a 19% increase over last year’s remittances despite fears that the inflows would decline due to the global financial crisis.
The remittances came mainly from Ethiopian citizens residing in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
About one million Ethiopians live abroad, the majority in the United States.
The bank expects to receive $1 billion in remittances in 2009.
The remittances received is still low compared to the number of citizens living abroad and the government is undertaking various activities to increase the remittances to $2 billion in the coming few years,” said Bekalu Ayalew, the public relation officer of the bank.
Currently, the bank allows Ethiopians living abroad to open a bank account in foreign exchange, either in US dollars or in the European Union currency, the euro.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
MANILA, Philippines: Filipinos working overseas sent home $16.4 billion in 2008 — 13.7 percent more than in the previous year — despite the global economic downturn, the Philippine central bank said Monday.
The figure, which comprises 10.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product, surpassed the bank's forecast of a 13 percent rise to US$16.3 billion. Nearly 10 percent of the country's 90 million people work overseas, and the money they send home is a key contributor to the Philippine economy.
Central Bank Gov. Amando Tetangco credited the better-than-expected performance to sustained demand for Filipino workers worldwide — particularly professional and skilled workers — and greater access to expanded remittance facilities. Read more
The Uzbek Central Bank sells $1 for 1,450 soms, while the exchange rate on the black market has risen to some 1,720 soms to the dollar.
Experts say the local currency is weakening because the foreign currency reserves have been greatly reduced.
People are also running out of foreign currency since labor migrants -- most of them working in Russia and Kazakhstan -- are not sending home as much in remittances as they previously did.
Uzbeks told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that money machines are out of order because of the currency shortage.
Uzbek economic expert Orif Hoshimov told RFE/RL that the government should start devaluing the national currency or else it will be difficult for the government to control inflation.
Despite the huge sums of money Africa gets from international money transfers and other remittances, the continent's economic development has remained stunted over the years.
The Executive Director of the Institute of Financial Development Studies, IFIDS, Simon Awanchiri, expressed this regret in a press conference on February 10 in Yaounde.
While announcing that IFIDS would be charting different strategies to reverse this ailing economic paradox in Yaounde from November 23 to 25, Awanchiri said Africa only receives a circa seven percent of the global volume of remittance flow.
Finding little money left to send home Immigrants' families in native countries expect help, but it’s getting harder
Elizabeth Anane-Sekyere works 13-hour shifts, six days a week. Her husband pastors a small church for modest pay. Together, they’re paying for a mortgage, three college tuitions and a growing 16-year-old.
But like immigrant couples across the Houston area, the Anane-Sekyeres have to stretch their paychecks even further. Recession or no, nieces and nephews back home are depending on them.
“Your children are going to school here,” explained Anane-Sekyere, a nurse’s aide originally from Ghana, “and they (relatives) are schooling back there.”
As money gets tighter, immigrant families in the U.S. are finding they can’t always cover everything that is expected of them. The Bank of Mexico recently said that remittances to that country fell last year — a phenomenon unprecedented in the three decades the bank has tracked such payments. Read more
Bangkok - Over the past three to four years, one of Asia's fastest growing industries has been exporting workers, especially to the oil-driven, construction-crazed economies of the Middle East.
Remittances have become a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings and gross domestic products (GDPs), peaking at an estimated 116 billion dollars in 2008.
This year, the money flows were expected to slow as construction projects are shelved and other jobs dry up in Gulf nations, such Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have employed up to 13 million foreign workers, 11 million of whom hailed from Asia. Read more
Kathmandu - Outside Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, groups of young men, mostly in their early 20s, gather to catch flights out of Nepal. They are all headed abroad for employment.
Palden Tamang, 22, is among them. Apprehensive about leaving the country for the first time, his local agent tries to calm him down with instructions about what to do once he gets to Qatar.
Tamang has been promised a job as a labourer in a construction company that pays about 10,000 rupees (130 dollars) a month along with food and lodging - wages that amount to a fortune for impoverished people living in the hills of Nepal who otherwise have few employment prospects at home.
'I managed to collect the money necessary for the arrangements by selling off some of the family property and the remaining amount borrowed from a village money lender,' Tamang said nervously. 'It will be hard work, and I will have to repay the loans I have taken.' Read more
Money transferred from abroad to Georgia reduced to USD 51.2 million in January, 2009, a 12.5% decline on the same period of last year, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) said on February 16.
The last time when decline in the figure for the first month of year was reported was in 2001.
The reduction is mainly attributed to the decline of remittances from Russia – a largest source of remittances for Georgia. In January, 2009, money transfers from Russia went down to USD 27 million from USD 35.6 million last January.
Money transfers from abroad amounted to slightly over USD 1 billion in 2008, against USD 866.1 million in 2007.
A joint policy paper by Open Society-Georgia Foundation and Economic Policy Research Center on Georgia’s economic challenges, released last week, warned that remittances were expected to decline this year because of the world financial crisis. It said that the trend would create “a heavy burden” for people, national currency and the banking sector. Source
Ivobank, an online banking service specialising in online payments and money transfer services, has become a participant in Swift's Workers' Remittances pilot and is working on a solution with its messaging systems supplier, Aqua Global.
As a result of the project, the supplier’s e2gen Integrated Payments Processing System is being enhanced with the XML message support for Swift’s initiative. The solution will be integrated with the bank’s core banking system, Fiserv CBS’s ICBS.
The current work between Ivobank and Aqua Global is the latest in a series of innovative projects between the two companies. The bank’s remit is to offer faster and cheaper cross-border and online payments, initially for customers in the UK, Spain, Ireland and Canada, with France, Italy and Germany added since then. The bank selected Aqua Global and its e2gen solution at the outset and, over two years, has introduced a range of payment solutions via the platform. This includes processing for Ivobank’s virtual card product, local clearing including receipt and payments via Bacs, and all incoming and outgoing Swift messages. The bank was one of the first in the UK to offer a Sepa compliant payment solution. Read More
Bekele Ayele, Communication Officer at the central bank, told Capital the move should ease remittances, as before the senders were forced to work only with correspondent banks.
“Now anyone can send money through any money transfer agent and it can be received in the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). This loosening of restrictions should work to ease the foreign currency shortages,” said Bekele. Read more
Monday, 9 February 2009
"On an average, every day close to 300 people are returning to the state from abroad. The maximum flow is from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Something has to be done to rehabilitate them," V. Sreekumar, president of the Pravasi Malayalee Welfare Association, told reporters here.
By John Aglionby in Jakarta
Published: February 5 2009 17:46 | Last updated: February 5 2009 17:46
Within seconds of a visitor entering the classroom at MIP Resindo Jaya, the 60 trainee carers studying quietly ahead of their departure to Taiwan jump to their feet and chant happily in newly learnt Mandarin: “Good morning. How are you? It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Outside, half a dozen men preparing to work on Taiwanese fishing vessels are equally cheerful. “What economic crisis are you talking about?” says Burhanuddin, 23. “I’ve got a good job to go to so I’m happy.” Read more
Dhaka, Feb 7 (APP): The global financial meltdown has not yet affected inflow of workers’ remittances into Bangladesh.
Officials of the central Bangladesh Bank (BB) said Saturday, the inflow of remittance to the country is increasing despite the fear that the global economic recession will reduce it drastically.
The country received $860 million as remittance in January, according to a provisional estimate by the BB.
The amount is the highest in the last seven months and is up by almost 22 per cent over remittance in the same month of the previous year, said a senior BB official. Read more
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
The country will witness inward remittance for the second time in a row, as even in 2007 India recorded the highest inflow of funds at $27 billion, followed by China which saw an inflow of $25.7 billion. Unlike FII flows, inward remittances are considered to be extremely sticky as this money, sent on a monthly basis by overseas Indians, is used largely for household consumption, reports The Economic Times. Read more
JAKARTA, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Indonesia expects remittances from its overseas workers to drop by up to 10 percent in 2009 as the global economic crisis forces firms to cut costs, the head of a state agency in charge of migrant workers said on Tuesday.
The agency said Indonesians working abroad sent home about $8.2 billion last year, an estimate based on an assumption that that 70 percent of the income received by registered workers was sent back. The figure could reach up to $10-11 billion if it included remittances from unregistered workers, the agency said. Read more
The main street in front of the Spitamen bazaar is clogged with idle taxis sputtering exhaust into the chill air. Said and Abdul, two young Tajiks in a tiny Daewoo hatchback, solicit passersby for their daily drive to Khujand, some 40km away. Business is slow.
"There are so many more cabs here this winter," laments Said as he flicks ashes from his stubby cigarette out the open window. "Everyone is coming back from Russia with no job, so they drive cars," adds Abdul. Indeed, the two friends are themselves part of the growing legion of laid-off guest workers. In their particular case, the duo returned home after losing their jobs at a St. Petersburg construction site in October.
In spite of the evident hardship that is spreading around them, Said and Abdul believe the global financial crisis won’t take a terrible toll on Tajikistan. It is a common feeling. Although remittances of foreign wages have helped prop up the country for years, most Tajiks believe their economy is isolated from the rest of the world. Said, for example, plans to return to Russia next spring, along with many of his friends, to resume the seasonal migration. He is unfazed by news of the sharp downturn in Russia. Reads more
The deregulation move is expected to stimulate competition and create money transfer services that are safer, less costly and more user-friendly, FSA officials say.
At present, only banks are allowed to engage in exchange transactions. For overseas money remittances involving different banks, senders are usually charged handling fees amounting to 3,000 to 5,000 yen per transaction. In addition, money transfers to foreign countries involve charges payable to overseas banks as well as foreign-exchange fees.
In the United States, money-sending companies authorized by state laws tie up with Japanese and other banks and usually charge lower fees for overseas remittances than those charged by banks in Japan. Read more
Santo Domingo.- National Council for Dominican Communities Abroad (CONDEX) executive vice president Alejandro Santos proposed the creation of a obligatory reserve in the Central Bank, from the amount of reserve transfers, to fund productive projects of the micro company.
Santos, who takes part in the National Unity Summit’s economy table, said remittances are important for economic and social development, since one tenth of the Dominican population abroad sends money to their relatives. Read more
Monday, 2 February 2009
Manila, Philippines (AHN) - The lingering global economic crisis is hurting most Filipinos where it hurts the most. In the pocket.
While the Philippine economy is partly shielded from the credit crisis and the collapse of centuries-old financial institutions in the U.S. and Europe, the fact the local economy is "remittance-driven," makes Filipinos worry that the mass layoffs overseas or the reduction in pay of their relatives working abroad mean lower remittance. Read more
A study of forest cover in El Salvador in the September issue of BioScience presents novel findings on how economic globalization, land policy changes, and monies sent to family members by emigrants have transformed agriculture and stimulated forest regrowth. The study, by Susanna B. Hecht and Sassan S. Saatchi, employed socioeconomic data, land-use surveys, and satellite imagery to document substantial increases in the area of El Salvador covered by both light and heavy woodland since peace accords were signed in 1992. Read more
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Washington (IANS): An Indian American group of professionals has launched a first of its kind India Health Card, a prepaid, reloadable card that lets Non-resident Indians (NRIs) fund healthcare needs of their family and friends back home.
Instead of wiring money to help an ailing relative or friend to pay doctor's bills, all that an NRI has to do is to load the India Health Card through the Internet. They in turn can simply use it like a debit card to get access to quality health services through an extensive network of medical, dental and other providers across India.
"India Health Card is a result of our vision for the healthcare industry in India. Our research has demonstrated a need for innovative healthcare payment solutions," said Ravi Halekote, founder and CEO of India Health Card. Read more
The decision was released after several commercial banks complained that the customs sector was considering imposing VAT on their imported foreign currencies, mostly overseas remittances, affecting their imports.The State Bank of Vietnam worked with the Ministry of Finance and found that the customs sector had made several proposals concerning the list of commodities subject to VAT that caused the misunderstanding. Source