Remittances increase 16.7% Jan-March
By Mario Andree
Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earner, worker remittances, increased 16.7 per cent during the first three months of this year as migrant workers sent home US$ 1.87 billion compared to US$ 1.6 billion a year ago.
According to data released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, in March this year, worker remittances accelerated for the nineth consecutive month since June last year.
Worker remittances, measured in rupee terms, increased 23.8 per cent during the first three month of this year to Rs 361.7 billion from Rs 292.2 billion a year ago.
Last year, worker remittances to Sri Lanka improved 5.8 per cent to US$ 7.1 billion from US$ 6.7 billion recorded in 2019.
In February this year, worker remittances increased 24.4 per cent to US$ 612 million from US$ 492 million in dollar terms and 32.4 per cent to Rs 120.6 billion from Rs 91 billion in rupee terms.
Worker remittances have been Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earner and the country’s balance of payment has been highly dependent on the income generated by migrant workers.
Last year, many Sri Lankans working overseas returned to the country following the COVID-19 pandemic, which shattered the global economy. The Government is yet in the process of repatriation for some still struggling to come back home.
The sector is also one of the largest employment providers to address the national unemployment and poverty issues prevailing in the country.
However, Sri Lanka has been witnessing a declining trend in the number of departures for foreign employment over the last few years.