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SL’s foreign remittances resilient flows reach US$1.53 million in March 2024.

By: Staff Writer

April 09, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka’s foreign remittances have long been characterised as resilient flows of capital that provide financial relief to migrant households and their incomes during downturns, crises and other periods of hardship.

The stability of Sri Lanka’s remittance economy during the the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis seemingly confirmed the resilience narrative, but subsequent and persistent declines in migrant income transfers

Around 75,000 Sri Lankans have left their country for overseas jobs in the first three months of 2024, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said.

The SLBFE noted that 74,499 Sri Lankan workers have left the South Asian country to seek jobs abroad, with 46 percent of them being women.

This is a slight drop from the figure recorded for the first quarter in 2023, at 76,025 people, said the bureau.

The SLBFE said that in recent months, the Sri Lankan workers mostly tried to find jobs in countries like South Korea, Israel and Japan.

Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara revealed a significant surge in remittances sent by foreign workers to Sri Lanka during the first quarter of this year.

The total amount reached approximately 1.53 billion dollars, marking an 8.7 percent increase compared to the previous year.

In March alone, Sri Lankan expatriates contributed 572.4 million dollars to the country’s economy.

Since assuming office in May 2022, Minister Nanayakkara has overseen a substantial influx of remittances, totaling 10,263.8 million US dollars.

The Ministry of Labor and Foreign Employment has actively facilitated legal channels for expatriate workers to remit funds to Sri Lanka through the banking system.

Several initiatives have been implemented for the benefit of expatriate workers, including house maids working in the Middle East:

These are Electric Vehicle Import Licenses. Manusavi Pension Scheme. Multi-purpose Loan Scheme, Hope Gate: A dedicated portal at the airport for expatriate workers.

These measures collectively aim to enhance the inflow of foreign remittances and contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic growth.

Sri Lanka’s worker remittances through official channels grew 0.72 percent to 572.4 million US dollars, from 468.3 million US dollars a year ago, data from the central bank show. Remittances were up from 476.2 million in February 2024.

Related Sri Lankans migrating for foreign employment drops 4.2-pct in 2023 Sri Lanka’s remittances dropped to around 275 million US dollars in 2022 as money was printed to mis-target rates creating forex shortages driving foreign exchange into unofficial channels.

Monetary stability was restored in the last quarter of 2022, improving the credibility of the exchange rate. Monthly remittances have been above 475 million US dollars from May 2023

Remittances generally rise in March ahead of traditional New Year holidays and also in December.

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