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Overseas Filipino workers around the world sent $26.92 billion (P1.20 trillion) back to the Philippines last year, up 6.2 percent from $25.35 billion (P1.13 trillion) in 2013, according to the Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
It was a record high, according to the central bank officials.
Land-based workers remitted $18.7 billion, while seafarers transferred $5.6 billion.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration noted 1.6 million Filipinos were deployed abroad in 2014. Job orders increased by 10.7 percent to 878,609. Around 43 percent of the job orders were in the service, production, professional and technical sectors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Qatar.
The Philippines was third, after India and China, in terms of the amount of remittances received in 2014, according to World Bank data.
Remittances contributed as much as 8.5 percent to the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
In terms of sources of remittances, here are the top 20 countries from which OFWs transfer money to the Philippines.
While 2014 was a banner year for remittances, money transfers were up by 2.4 percent in the first two months of 2015 – the slowest pace in years.
This could be due to lower oil income and scaling down of projects in the Middle East, where a significant number of OFWs are based. Continued economic weakness in other countries, especially developed nations, may have also placed a drag on the pace of money transfers to the Philippines.
“The government should realize that it cannot forever depend on OFW remittances to fuel or sustain consumption-induced economic growth,” according to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
This article first appeared in slightly different form on iMoney.