By CHINEDU IBEABUCHI
Nigerian workers world-wide are expected to remit N3.27 trillion ($21 billion) back home in 2012, almost a 100 per cent increase above N1.65 trillion ($10.6 billion) recorded in 2011, according to a new World Bank brief on global migration and remittances.
Nigeria is ranked the fifth among the top recipients of remittances this year.
The report stated that the top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2012 are India ($70 billion), China ($66 billion), the Philippines and Mexico ($24 billion each), and Nigeria ($21 billion).
Other large recipients include Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
Nigeria has a strong and growing Diaspora community, especially in the US, Europe and Asia, many of whom are responsible for this remittance flows.
As a percentage of GDP, the top recipients of remittances, in 2011, were Tajikistan (47 percent), Liberia (31 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (29 percent), Lesotho (27 percent), Moldova (23 percent), Nepal (22 percent), and Samoa (21 percent).
In a whole, the report said that remittance flows to the developing world are expected to exceed earlier estimates and total $406 billion this year, an increase of 6.5 percent over the previous year, the report said.
Remittances to developing countries are projected to grow by 7.9 percent in 2013, 10.1 percent in 2014 and 10.7 percent in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015.
Worldwide remittances, including those to high-income countries, are expected to total $534 billion in 2012, and projected to grow to $685 billion in 2015, the report stated.
However, despite the growth in remittance flows overall to developing countries, the report said that the continuing global economic crisis is dampening remittance flows to some regions, with Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa especially affected, while South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to fare much better than previously estimated.
“Although migrant workers are, to a large extent, adversely affected by the slow growth in the global economy, remittance volumes have remained remarkably resilient, providing a vital lifeline to not only poor families but a steady and reliable source of foreign currency in many poor remittances recipient countries,” said Hans Timmer, Director of the Bank’s Development Prospects Group.
The Migration and Development Brief also notes that the promise of mobile remittances has yet to be fulfilled, despite the skyrocketing use of mobile telephones throughout the developing world. Mobile remittances fall in the regulatory void between financial and telecom regulations, with many central banks prohibiting non-bank entities to conduct financial services. Central banks and telecommunication authorities, thus, need to come together to craft rules relating to mobile remittances.
The Brief also discusses the implementation of the new remittance regulations in the United States and Europe and concludes that these regulations are likely to lower remittance costs in the long run by increasing competition and improving consumer protection.