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Business Home > Nation
 
Remittances from UAE Filipino Workers to Fall by 6pc in 2009

20 July 2009

ABU DHABI - Remittances sent by Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) in the UAE will dip by 6.67 percent this year, according to a Philippine bank official.

“There will be a slight decrease in the remittances sent by OFWs because of the global crisis,” said Manny I. Inserto, assistant vice-president and regional head of remittances for Middle East and Africa, Global Banking Department of LandBank. LandBank is wholly-owned by the Philippine government. 

He forecast that this year, UAE’s remittances to the Philippines will drop moderately to $1.4 billion from an estimated $1.5 billion in 2008.

“This is a conservative estimate and is based on the number of banks (operating) in the UAE, OFW population and the volume of remittances,” Inserto said.  “On average, each Filipino sends between $400-$500 per month,” he added. There are around 400,000 Filipinos residing and working in the UAE. The UAE ranks as the second largest remitter from the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia which has a Filipino population of 1.5 million. According to the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) there are around 1,357 OFWs in the UAE who lost their jobs and have returned to the Philippines in March. There are 6,406 displaced OFWs from around the world.  Meanwhile, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank said on Wednesday 150709 that remittances from overseas Filipinos coursed through banks grew year-on-year by 3.7 percent in May 2009 to reach a record high of $1.48 billion.

Cumulative remittances for the first five months of the year totalled $6.98 billion, representing a 2.8 percent increment compared to the same period last year.

“The stream of remittances from overseas Filipinos continued to show signs of strength despite lingering global economic fragilities, providing some basis for cautious optimism regarding steady remittance levels for 2009,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said.  He added that remittance flows continued to be underpinned by the steady demand for Filipino workers abroad, specifically professional and skilled workers. ----Last year, remittance flows to the Philippines reached $16.4 billion, roughly equivalent to a tenth of gross domestic product. In 2007, total remittances were $14.5 billion.  

This year, BSP expects the remittances to stay flat. “Remittances for the full year 2009 are expected to exhibit a flat growth even with the mounting concerns about the effects of the recessionary conditions in the global economy,” the central bank said in a press statement early this month.  For the period January-May 2009, the major sources of remittances were the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UK, Japan, Singapore, UAE, Italy and Germany.  According to World Bank statistics, Philippines is the fourth largest remittance recipient in the world, next to India, China and Mexico. 

 olivia@khaleejtimes.ae

 

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