Worker remittances sent by Sri Lankan expatriates jumped 68.8 percent in January, more wokrers channelled their foreign earnings through formal banking channels, central bank data showed.
The remittances, the top foreign exchange earner, recorded $437.5 million in the first month of 2023 compared to $259.2 million in January last year, the central bank data showed.
The remittances fell sharply from October 2021 as most workers sought to send money via unofficial hawala and undiyal methods after the central bank clamped down on paying higher premiums for Vostro trassfer as the rupee came under pressure from money printed to keep an artificial interest rate.
Even after the currency was allowed to depreciate sharply from 200 rupees per dollar to 360, worker remittances were down, as credit pressure continued.
The inflows fell 31 percent last year to $3.8 billion from the previous year’s $5.5 billion, the latest central bank data showed.
Though a record 311,269 people left the country as migrant workers last year in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis, the worker remittances were not found to rise proportion to the outward labour movement.
The island nation’s rupee fell from 200 rupees per dollar to 360 rupees –within three months in the first half of 2022 after the central bank printed billions of rupees to finance the government spending in the face of higher state expenditure and lower government revenue.