By Shahid Iqbal
Published in DAWN on October 09, 2021
KARACHI: Overseas Pakistanis sent the highest-ever $8 billion remittances during the first quarter of the current fiscal year, registering a growth of 12.5 per cent over the same period last year.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday reported that with inflows of $2.7bn in September, workers’ remittances continued their strong momentum and remaining above $2bn since June 2020.
“This is the 7th consecutive month when inflows recorded around $2.7bn on average,” said the SBP. In terms of growth, remittances increased by 17pc in September compared to the same month last year, while comparing with August inflows it was 0.5pc higher.
The surging imports in 1QFY22 widened the trade deficit putting immense pressure on the rupee-dollar exchange rate which ultimately reflected in higher current account deficit. The situation for the economic managers is not comfortable except the higher remittance supported the economy beyond imagination.
The country had received record remittances of $29.4bn in FY21 which helped it curtail the current account deficit.
“The proactive policy measures by the government and SBP to incentivise the use of formal channels, curtailed crossborder travel in the face of Covid19, altruistic transfers to Pakistan amid the pandemic, and orderly foreign exchange market conditions have positively contributed towards the sustained improvement in remittance inflows since last year,” the central bank said in statement.
However, the deterioration of exchange rate has created serious problems for the external trade activities. Recently, the SBP has taken several measures to curtail outflow of dollars and reduce the import bill, but the exchange rate is still against the rupee which has lost about 11.5pc during the last five months.
The highest remittances were received from Saudi Arabia but they were 2.6pc less than the same period of last year. During July-September 2021-22 the remittances from Saudi Arabia were $2.025bn against $2.080bn last year. The contribution of Saudi Arabia in the total remittances during the first quarter of FY22 was almost 25pc. In September, Pakistan received $691m from the kingdom against $694m in the same month of last year.
The remittance from the United Arab Emirates was second highest as it witnessed a growth of 8.7pc while it amounted to $1.545bn during the first quarter of FY22.
The inflows from UK and USA noted a growth of 13.2pc and 32pc amounting to $1.115bn and $836m respectively. The growth in the first quarter of FY21 was 71.5pc for UK and 63pc for USA.
For the first time, the inflows from EU countries surpassed the total inflows from other GCC countries. The inflows from EU countries rose $889m compared to $880.7 from the GCC countries. The remittances from EU countries increased by 47.8pc compared to the same period of last fiscal year.