OFW remittances down 4.5%
The government’s decision to repatriate thousands of Filipino workers suffering from abusive work conditions in the Middle East took an immediate toll on the amount of dollars being sent home as the first half of 2018 ended, the central bank said on Wednesday.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said that personal remittances for June declined by 4.9 percent to $2.6 billion compared to the same period last year.
During the same month, cash remittances coursed through banks fell by 4.5 percent year-on-year to $2.4 billion. The countries that registered the biggest declines in cash remittances in June were the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
“The overseas Filipino workers repatriation program of the government may have partly affected the remittance flows for the month,” the central bank said.
In the first two months of 2018, a total of 4,149 OFWs were repatriated from UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
For 2017, preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration showed that the number of deployed land-based workers also dropped by 3.28 percent to 1,614,674 year-on-year, while that of the sea-based workers fell by 14.62 percent to 378,072.
Cash remittances coming from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, UAE, Japan, Qatar, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada accounted for more than 79 percent of total cash remittances for the first six months of 2018.
For the first half of the year, however, personal remittances from expatriate Filipinos totaled $15.8 billion, posting a 2.8 percent year-on-year growth.
Personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 2.5 percent to $12.2 billion, while transfers from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts likewise increased by 3.4 percent to $3.2 billion for the same period.
For the first semester of 2018, cash remittances from expatriate Filipinos coursed through banks recorded a 2.7-percent growth from the same period a year ago to reach $14.2 billion. Cash remittances sent by land-based workers and sea-based workers rose by 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent to $11.2 billion and $3 billion, respectively.
Personal remittances represent the sum of net compensation of employees (gross earnings of overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries), personal transfers (all current transfers in cash or in kind by workers with work contracts of one year or more as well as other household-to-household transfers between Filipinos who have migrated abroad and their families in the Philippines), and capital transfers between households (the provision of resources for capital purposes, such as for construction of residential houses, between resident and nonresident households without anything of economic value being supplied in return).
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