Financing Eid back home? UAE expat remittances on the rise during Ramadan
Exchange houses recorded a significant increase in remittances from the UAE during Ramadan as expatriates sent additional money to their home countries for Eid spending.
Xpress Money reported a 15 per cent increase in remittances and LuLu International Exchange recorded more than 40 per cent jump.
“There was an increasing trend of expatriates starting to save and send back more money from June onwards, to set the festive mood and bring smiles to their families and friends back home,” according to Xpress Money. “Traditionally, remittance outflows observe an up-surge during the Holy month of Ramadan. Remittances to countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh witness an increase especially from the Gulf region,” said Sudhesh Giriyan, vice-president and business head, Xpress Money, in a statement.
Almost all the business establishments and companies have disbursed the employees’ salaries and bonuses early this month because of Eid Al Fitr. It is normal to see a sharp surge both in volume and number of remittances during various festivals such as Eid, Onam, Divali and Christmas. “There is no denying the fact that there has been a considerable growth in remittances to India and other countries this month. We have witnessed unprecedented rush in all our counters across our operations since the past ten days. We have seen a spike of 50 per cent increase in number of remittances and an increase of 43 per cent in the volume of transactions,” LuLu International Exchange chief executive officer Adeeb Ahamed told Khaleej Times.
The Indian corridor seems to have benefitted the most with a 65 per cent increase in number of transactions and 50 per cent increase in the volume of remittances, he added. To add value to their efforts, Xpress Money is currently running the ‘Win Everyday’ promotion wherein customers transferring money from UAE to the Indian sub-continent, can win Dh1,000 daily and a mega prize of Dh20,000 at the end of the promotion which concludes on August 12, 2014.
“Eid is a special festival for me and my family. Each year I save for this occasion so that I can send more money home. Besides saving, I also aim to capitalise on the on-going promotions to get that extra money”, said Hafizur Rahim, a taxi driver based in UAE.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals are estimated to have around 15 million migrant workers, with the UAE having more than five million migrant workers. The six-nation bloc is the third largest hub of migration in the world. In the UAE, a majority of expatriates belong to India and Pakistan.
Pakistan is expected to witness a record growth in July remittances, which is likely to cross $1.88 billion mainly for Eid festivities.
In June 2014, the overall remittances received by the country recorded at $1.58 billion, which was $1.38 billion in May. The Pakistanis working abroad remitted over $15.83 billion during the financial year 2013-14 (July–June) showing a growth of 13.72 per cent when compared with $13.921 billion received during fiscal year 2012-13.
Remittance flows to developing countries is expected to jump 7.8 per cent to $436 billion in 2014 with India staying as the top global recipient of money sent by migrants by recording $70 billion in 2013.
Global remittance flows, including to higher income countries, are estimated at $542 billion in 2013, and could rise to $680 billion by 2016, according to the World Bank’s latest issue of the Migration and Development Brief.
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