28th April 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Charumini De Silva
Sri Lanka’s foreign remittances from expatriate Sri Lankans have recorded an increase of 20 percent in January compared to last year. This is despite the volatile situations around the world, which affected the foreign exchange earnings of many countries.
The Central Bank said foreign remittances during January recorded US$ 377 million, which is an increase of 20 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.
Establishing collective agreements with overseas employers for higher wages and salaries, the expansion of the exchange houses network by commercial banks, an increases in the number of persons taking up high-end jobs overseas, the Government’s ongoing initiative to promote inwards remittances through formal channels and opening of new bank branches in the Northern and Eastern provinces were instrumental in attracting a higher level of workers’ remittances, the Central Bank said.
A senior official of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment told Daily News Business that over 61,157 workers had left for employment abroad during the first three months this year.
During January around 20,702 workers and in February 18,854 workers had left for employment abroad. During March over 22,101 workers had left for employment marking the highest departures for this year.
“Most of the employees had gone to work in Middle East countries, which is still the traditional market that dominates foreign employment while there was a small percentage of people who had taken up employment in other parts of the world.
However, there was a substantial increase recorded in the number of skilled workers seeking foreign jobs,” the official said.
According to the Central Bank annual report 2010 a considerable increase in inward workers’ remittances to US $ 4.1 billion helped offset the trade deficit to a great extent in 2010.
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