English | Dzongkha Saturday, May 30, 2020

Remittance from the non-resident Bhutanese drops

Oct 16, 2019

Remittances from the non-resident Bhutanese dropped by almost Nu 350 M for the first five months of the year compared to last year. According to figures from the Royal Monitory Authority (RMA), in 2018, over Nu 1.2bn remitted between January and May. The figure has dropped to Nu 870 M this year.

Remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker back to their home country. In Bhutan’s case, the upsurge in inward remittance is a clear indication that there is an increasing number of Bhutanese working abroad.

After hitting a record of almost Nu 3bn in remittances last year, latest figures show the trend is slowing down.

Last year, January alone saw almost Nu 320 M remitted while the number dropped to Nu 129 M this year. March also saw a marked drop of almost Nu 100 M compared to last year.

The RMA figures also show non-resident Bhutanese across the globe have remitted a total of about Nu 860 M in 2015. The following year, it more than doubled to Nu 1.7bn and to Nu 1.9bn in 2017.

This year, as of May, remittances from the United States and Australia are the top sources at USD 9.5 M and AUD 8.09 M respectively.

In 2016, US$ remittance stood at 7.73 M. The following year, it increased to 9.82 M before spiking to 19.37 M, last year. Similarly, in 2016, AUD 24.17 M was remitted into the country. In 2017 it increased to 24.72 M before reaching 31.15 M, last year.

Inward remittances are essential for stabilising the country’s balance of payment. It consists of import and export of goods, services and capital flow, such as foreign aid and remittances. In Nepal for example, inward remittance is one of the forerunners of its economy forming 25 per cent of their gross domestic product. However, in Bhutan’s case, it constitutes only about 1.5 per cent of the GDP.

Sherub Dorji

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