Thursday, 30 April 2009

Philippine Central Bank says remittances to pick up in second half

Lawrence Agcaoili
Manila Standard

The Bangko Sentral sees the amount of money sent home by migrant Filipino workers growing in the second half of the year with the higher job deployment to the Middle East.

Bangko Sentral Deputy Gov. Diwa Guinigundo told reporters at the sidelines of the 30th National Conference of Employers that it was unlikely that remittances from Filipinos working overseas would decline this year due to the increase in the deployment of workers to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.

“There are major development projects rising in Saudi Arabia. They are building five to six mega cities there and employment opportunities are strongly in favor of Filipino workers,” Guinigundo told reporters.

The central bank official said there was “enough cause for optimism” for increased remittance inflows in the second half of the year.

Guinigundo said Jeddah alone had development projects of about $45 billion that would result in more jobs.

“We visited one construction company in Riyadh employing about 7,000 workers and 40 percent of that are Filipinos,” Guinigundo said, adding that there was a growing preference for highly skilled Filipinos.

“Personally, with the information I have, a decline in remittances is unlikely. There is also cause for optimism for the second half of the year when we will have to review our numbers,” he added.

The central bank sees the amount of money sent home by Filipinos working abroad to stay flat this year, after reaching a record $16.4 billion in 2008, due to the global economic meltdown.

He said the flat-growth projection for the year was based on deployment data in late 2008 and that there would be a need to review the target in the second half when deployment was likely to have a positive impact on remittances.

Data showed that remittances in the first two months of the year inched up 2.5 percent to $2.6 billion after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reported that the total number of deployed overseas workers grew 27.3 percent to 283,348 from 222,608.

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