W’Bank Predicts $22bn Foreign Remittances for Nigeria in 2017

Obinna Chima

The World Bank has predicted that Nigeria will record foreign remittances inflow of $22 billion in 2017, higher than the $19 billion recorded by the country in 2016.

However, India retained its top spot, with remittances expected to total $65 billion this year, followed by China ($63 billion), the Philippines ($33 billion) and Mexico (a record $31 billion).

The World Bank, which stated this in its Migration and Development Brief, obtained on its website wednesday, estimated that remittances to low- and middle-income countries was on course to recover in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline.

The Bank estimated that officially recorded remittances to developing countries were expected to grow by 4.8 per cent to $450 billion for 2017.

Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, were projected to grow by 3.9 percent to $596 billion.

According to the World Bank, the recovery in remittance flows was driven by relatively stronger growth in the European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States.

“As a result, those regions likely to see the strongest growth in remittance inflows this year are Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, fiscal tightening, due to low oil prices, and policies discouraging recruitment of foreign workers, will dampen remittance flows to East and South Asia.

“In keeping with an improving global economy, remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow modestly by 3.5 per cent in 2018, to $466 billion. Global remittances will grow by 3.4 per cent to $616 billion in 2018,” it stated.

The report showed that global average cost of sending $200 remained stagnant at 7.2 perncent in the third quarter of 2017.This was significantly higher than the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of three per cent.

But Africa, with an average cost of 9.1 per cent, remained the highest-cost region, according to the report.

It showed that two major factors contributing to high costs were exclusive partnerships between national post office systems and any single money transfer operator (MTO), which stifles market competition and allows the MTO to raise remittance fees, as well as de-risking by commercial banks, as they close bank accounts of MTOs, in order to cope with the high regulatory burden aimed at reducing money laundering and financial crime.

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