Remittances grow to $1.32b

Published by rudy Date posted on April 16, 2009

Remittances from migrant Filipino workers grew 4.9 percent in February to $1.32 billion year-on-year, as job layoffs slowed down and deployment increased, the Bangko Sentral said yesterday.

The February remittances brought the total in the first two months of the year to $2.59 billion, up 2.5 percent from $2.52 billion on year. Remittances grew at a slower pace of 1 percent in January and December.

“Remittances have been holding up as deployment of overseas Filipino workers increased,” the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

Citing preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bangko Sentral said deployment in the first two months of the year surged 27.3 percent to 283,348 from 222,608 a year ago.

The central bank said the Labor Department would renew next month a job arrangement scheme with South Korea. The renewal of the arrangement will give displaced Filipinos in South Korea priority in finding employment.

The central bank said hiring agreements were also forged with some host countries like Canada, Australia, Japan and those in the Middle East.

The agreements open employment opportunities in healthcare, education, power and energy and real estate.

The central bank said the government was also intensifying efforts in countries that had been severely affected by the global financial turmoil, specifically in Saudi Arabia and Libya. These countries continue to hire workers in the construction and healthcare industries.

The central bank said there were also employment opportunities in Guam as US naval forces relocate operations from Okinawa, Japan.

The central bank said the remittances came mainly from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.

The central bank partly attributed the increase in money sent home to the continued expansion of commercial banks to capture a larger share of the global remittance market through tie-ups with placement agencies and money transfer companies abroad.

The central bank now sees a slight improvement in remittances this year after earlier predicting a flat growth.

The central bank last month said the flat forecast on remittance growth was a conservative estimate and that it was up for review.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee, an interagency group that maps out the country’s economic and fiscal targets and policies, is curently reviewing its macroeconomic forecasts. –Eileen A. Mencias, Manila Standard Today

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