Neda sees more job prospects for OFWs
THE GOVERNMENT is closely monitoring external developments seen impacting on overseas job markets, although prospects for deployment of more Filipino workers are expected to abound in the United Arab Emirates, according to a National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) official.
Neda Assistant Director-General Rosemarie G. Edillon told reporters last week that cheaper global oil prices coupled with geopolitical developments in the Middle East as well as the slowing Chinese economy were being seen as risks not only to trade but also the employment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
As far as China’s slower growth is concerned, Edillon said they were hopeful that economic recovery in the United States and Japan—the latter being the Philippines’ largest export market—would compensate for the expected global trade slowdown.
According to Edillon, they were also closely coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to substantiate risks to OFW jobs, especially in the Middle East.
“The DOLE has already asked for our help and we’re already crunching the numbers because we will need to beef up the capacity of national reintegration. They already have some reintegration programs but those will have to be scaled up because we were just responding before to crisis situations like in Libya,” she said, citing that the current situation could be bigger in scale.
While the government has yet to determine the extent of the impact on jobs and remittances of economic and political tensions in the Middle East, Edillon said they were more optimistic of job prospects in the UAE.
The latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data showed that during the first 11 months of 2015, the Middle East remained the second biggest source of remittances on a per region basis, as its 23-percent share was exceeded only by the Americas’ 44.4-percent share. The end-November share of remittances from the Middle East also increased from 21.7 percent a year ago.
On a per country basis, Saudi Arabia’s 10.5-percent share of end-November remittances was surpassed only by the US’ 40-percent share.
Another top Middle Eastern source of remittances was the UAE, with a 6.9-percent share of the total.
Early last month, the BSP said it expects a temporary slowdown in remittances from Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia and Iran amid the tension between the two Middle Eastern countries.
“As for overseas Filipinos’ remittances, we may see some temporary setback because of logistical difficulties and deployment may slow,” BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. had said in a text message to reporters.
“But based on experiences from past regional conflicts, our overseas workers are able to find ways of sending back money to their families here and also work in other areas that may be safer from conflict,” according to Tetangco.
Before the close of 2015, the BSP slightly reduced its yearend cash remittances projection to $25.3 billion, mainly on softening demand from overseas labor markets that hire Filipino workers.
The BSP had said the growth forecast for 2015 was reduced to 4 percent from 5 percent previously amid “continued dollar appreciation relative to the currencies of major host countries.”
The BSP had also cited “weakening” job orders, especially from the Middle East and North Africa.
The BSP’s previous forecast was a rise in remittances from abroad to $25.6 billion in 2015 from $24.3 billion in 2014.
For 2016, the growth in cash remittances is projected also at 4 percent to $26.3 billion.
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