Remittances impact on poverty reduction marginal-wB
By Paneetha Ameresekere
Though remittances are currently Sri Lanka’s single largest foreign exchange earner, it had a relatively modest impact on overall poverty reduction, the World Bank (WB, in a report titled ‘Background Report to Sri Lanka Poverty Assessment’ dated 1 October 2021, said.
In households that have a male migrant, women’s vulnerabilities are intensified by the breakdown of families which leaves women caring for their children with little to no financial support from their husbands, the WB warned.This trend is particularly worrying in former conflict-affected areas, where there are a lot of female-headed households, it further said.
“In-depth interviews in ‘International Labour Organisation (ILO) (2018)) suggest that female migrants continue to look for opportunities overseas to finance the building of a house and to meet education and health needs of their children,” the WB said. The migrant-sending strategy may have been a survival strategy for some poor households, but it has not come without a cost, the WB further said.
Remittances received as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) remained at slightly below nine per cent between 2012 and 2016, it said. However, among households in the Eastern Province, remittances werethe second biggest factor contributing to poverty reduction, the WB also said.