Remittance to Pakistan hits all-time high of $24.2 billion

Dubai - Expats in UAE and Saudi Arabia are among the top contributors towards remittances.


Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Tue 18 May 2021, 4:09 PM

Remittances to Pakistan from the country's diaspora stayed above $2 billion for the 11th consecutive month in April 2021, reaching $2.8 billion, up by 56 per cent when compared to same month last year.

Cumulatively, remittances have risen to an all-time high mark of $24.2 billion during July-April 2021 period, up by 29 per cent over the corresponding period last year, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, said on Tuesday.

"The remittance inflows in the first 10 months of financial year 2020-21 have already crossed the full fiscal year 2019-20 level by more than $1 billion," according to the central bank.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has thanked overseas Pakistanis for record remittance inflows and said the country's diaspora have faith in Naya Pakistan.

"I have always believed overseas Pakistanis to be our greatest asset. In April, your remittances rose to an all-time high of $2.8b. Remitting $24.2b in the first 10 months of FY21, you have broken the record level achieved in entire FY20. Thank you for your faith in Naya Pakistan,” Khan tweeted.

Analysts and banking experts said Pakistan is expected to receive record remittance inflows of up to $29 billion this year. This comes as initiatives launched by the government and central bank to facilitate overseas workers have started yielding positive results despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Proactive policy measures by the government and SBP to encourage more inflows through formal channels, curtailed cross border travel in the face of Covid-19, altruistic transfers to Pakistan amid the pandemic, orderly foreign exchange market conditions and, more recently, Eid-related inflows have contributed to record levels of remittances this year,” the central bank said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remained top two major contributors in April as non-resident Pakistanis remitted $6.4 billion and $5.1 billion, respectively. The country also received $3.3 billion from the United Kingdom and $2.2 billion from the United States as Pakistani diaspora sent more money back home for Eid and Ramadan spending.

Overseas Pakistanis residing in Gulf states in general, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular, are likely to maintain an upward momentum in remittances. They contributed more than 60 per cent of the total inflows during the July-April 2021 period.

Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment, said remittance inflows to Pakistan are expected to hit up to $29 billion this year due to extraordinary environment across the globe in the wake of the pandemic.

“Restrictions on travelling, more reliance on digital/official channels, introduction of new channels of money transfer, introduction of Roshan Digital Account, government efforts to curb anti-money laundering and more incentives for banks are some of the key reasons to attract all-time remittances so far,” Tariq told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

He said higher penetration of internet banking in the country is also a major reason to attract more inflows through official channels.

“If a person gets used to of internet banking, there are lesser chances that he would go for cash transfers. He would prefer digital channels to transfer funds back home,” he said.

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