SL Workers’ remittances gain to US475.6 in December 2022
Sri Lanka has set an ambitious target of US $1 billion monthly foreign inflow from worker remittance by end-2023 with more people leaving the island nation for offshore jobs after an unprecedented economic crisis, Foreign Employment and Labour Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.
Workers’ remittance inflows have historically been a driving force of the Sri Lankan economy. Sri Lankan migrant workers’ foreign remittances have increased to US$ 475.6 million in December 2022 from US$ 325.2 million in December 2021, he disclosed.
He tweeted that this is a 46% (US$ 150 million) increase compared to the inflows recorded in December 2021.
However, the inflow of workers’ remittances contracted significantly in 2021 reflecting the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased tendency to remit money through informal channels.
At the same time, the external sector continues to show significant vulnerabilities making numerous challenges for the economy.
In this context, promoting workers’ remittance inflows to the country is imperative to overcome the heightened external shocks, Minister Nanyakkara added. .
Also, the importance of workers’ remittances as a steady source of foreign exchange in Sri Lanka has grown among the researchers and the policy makers
Worker remittances sent by Sri Lankan expatriates jumped 46 percent in December, but the inflows were still 31 percent down for the year after a record high number of the people migrated in 2022.
The remittances, which were the top foreign exchange earners fell from December 2021 most workers sought to send money via illegal hawala and undiyal methods in the face of the central bank kept the rupee propped up artificially.
Even after the currency was allowed to depreciate sharply from 200 rupees per dollar to 360, the worker remittances were down.
The remittances jumped 46 percent to $475.6 million in December 2022, compared to $325.2 million in the same month of the previous year.
However, the inflows fell 31 percent for the whole 2022 to $3,786.5 million from the previous year’s 5,491.5 million, the latest central bank data showed.
Though the island nation saw a record 311,269 people leaving the country as migrant workers last year, the worker remittances have yet to rise.