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Remittances down from usual average – Finance Minister

Remittances down from usual average – Finance Minister
Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance.

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While remittances from MoneyGram and Western Union in two of the first four months of 2021 show improvement when compared to the previous year, the figure is still way off from the usual average of EC$30 million.

Major St Clair Leacock, the Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown, posed a question in Parliament this week, where he pointed to the “wrap around lines” at financial centres and asked for “reasonable estimates of projections for remittances for the disaggregated months of January, February, March and April”.

In response to Leacock’s question, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, said the typical level of remittances through services like MoneyGram and Western Union average around EC$30 million per month incoming and just about EC$2 million a month outgoing.

“The data therefore will indicate that in January and February of 2021, the remittances were below average,” he said.

Gonsalves’ figures show that in January, EC$11.9 million came into the country in January 2021. The corresponding figure for the previous year was EC$13.3 million.

In February, 2021, remittances through these financial centres were EC$11.9 million as opposed to EC$13 million for the same month in 2020.

Unlike the first two months of the year, incoming remittances increased in March and April when compared to the same months in 2020.

The Finance Minister said the incoming remittances for March 2021 was EC$17.1 million, just over EC$6 million more than in 2020.

In April of this year, the incoming remittances were EC$17.7 million as opposed to EC$9.6 million in 2020.

“I just want to indicate that in 2020, the EC$11 million remittance and the EC$9.6 million remittance were far below the average. We’re not sure if it was related to the COVID outbreak in the United States, which occurred around the same time, or if there were other reasons why there was a dip. It’s usually a fairly consistent number…,” Gonsalves said in Parliament.

He added that the EC$17 million in March and April were atypical and obviously related to difficulties being experienced at the moment.

“So, while there was a massive increase, 17 as opposed to nine in April, ordinarily, it would be 17 as opposed to 30; that’s normally the number. We normally hit the $17 million mark at two periods, Carnival time and around Christmas time”. 

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