(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Pakistani expats in the UAE topped remittances for June, sending $356 million during the month, figures from the central bank showed.
Furthermore, it has been another strong year for remittances. Overseas Pakistanis sent $21.84 billion during the 2019 financial year, an increase of 9.7 per cent from last year's $19.91 billion, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data added.
The total is nearly $640 million or 3 per cent higher than the $21.2 billion target set by Prime Minister Imran Khan's government for the year. Islamabad is trying to increase remittances in order to improve foreign exchange reserves and meet the dollar shortfall.
According to the SBP's latest figures, remittances for June increased by 1.4 per cent to $1.65 billion compared to the same month in 2018. However, it fell 28.7 per cent month-on-month.
Dr Hadi Shahid, managing partner at Alliott Chartered Accountants, said Saudi Arabia used to be the biggest remittance market for Pakistan due to a huge diaspora working here. But the UAE has overtaken the kingdom for two reasons.
"Firstly, the number of Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia have reduced while the concentration of Pakistani businessmen here in the UAE improved. But, of late, Pakistani businessmen have been focusing more on investing and sending money back home due to amnesties announced by Islamabad over the last one year or so... Pakistani businessmen are investing back as the environment is improving with implementation of taxation reforms," Shahid said.
He said this trend of increased remittances from the UAE is not just from Pakistani businessmen; Indian entrepreneurs also are likely to follow this trend.
Shabbir Merchant, managing director of Champion Neon and a senior member of the Pakistan Business Council, attributed rupee's devaluation against the UAE dirham for the increase in remittances from the UAE.
"Currency devaluation is the key factor for the increase in remittances from the UAE, especially the blue-collar workers are sending a lot of remittances after a decline in the rupee's value," he said.
Merchant stressed that remittances are also key for the economy but the government should focus more on boosting exports in order to improve forex reserves and stabilise the currency and economy.
In June, Pakistanis living and working in the GCC remitted a total of $853.49 million. Following the UAE are Saudi Arabia ($334 million), the US ($276.76 million), the UK ($268.97 million), other Gulf countries ($163.46 million) and various EU nations ($52.49 million).
Remittances from the UAE increased by $10.7 million in June.
SBP figures also showed that Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and Japan were the other major markets for remittances last month.