Falling Remittances: A threat for Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves

(Dr.Syed Mehboob, Karachi)

Falling Remittances : A threat to Pakistan's foreign exchange Reserves

Corona Virus has brought multidimensional threat to Pakistan's fragile and vulnerable economy. About 12 million people became jobless and those who are doing business are force to shut down their businesses and only a segment of industries is allowed to continue their activities . July to March revenue shortfall is about Rs.102 billion an average shortfall of Rs.3.2 billion. Exports are badly affected as many orders has been cancelled and there are little chance of receiving new orders. Pakistan is depending on International Monetary, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other IFIs. One of the worst effected sectors is foreign remittances which plays important role in keeping Pakistan's balance of payment and foreign exchange reserve in manageable position. Last year Pakistan received about US$ 20.5 billion and was expecting a 20 % increase this year. However this year due to corona virus ground reality has changed and the remittances has fell and it is estimated that this year there might be 20 to 25 percent shortfall in remittances.

Due to corona virus crisis many Pakistanis are feared to loss their jobs and those who are doing business are also in crisis. If they return Pakistan they wont be able to find jobs. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates , Oman , Qatar, Bahrain have the largest share of Pakistan's working there.These five countries have cumulative 94.5 % share of Pakistanis working abroad. Te largest share of workers are in Saudi Arabia which have a 49.36 percent of Pakistanis following by United Arab Emirate which has 3.92 million Pakistanis. There are about 11.29 million Pakistanis working abroad.
S.No Countries No of Pakistanis % of total
working
1 Saudi Arabia 5,573,947 49.36
2 U.A.E 3,926,147 34.76
3 Oman 802,725 7.10
4 Qatar 192,988 1.70
5 Bahrain 177,533 1.57
6 Kuwait 183,635 1.62
7 South Korea 15,502 0.13
8 Malaysia 110,910 0.98
9 China 6,036 0.05
10 Algeria 2,196 0.01
11 Angola 723 0.006
12 Azerbaijan 275 0.002
13 Brunei 2,090 0.01
14 Cameron 107 0.00
15 Croatia 49 0.00
16 Cyprus 7,428 0.06
17 Gabon 316 0.002
18 Gen-Island 199 0.001
19 Germany 911 0.008
20 Guinea 257 0.002
21 Greece 554 0.004
22 Hong Kong 609 0.005
23 Iran 12,883 0.1
24 Iraq 75,667 0.6
25 Italy 28,554 0.2
26 Japan 1,773 0.01
27 Jordan 7,783 0.06
28 Kenya 181 0.001
29 Lebanon 696 0.00
30. Libya 81,176 0.7
31 Morocco 55 0.00
32 Nigeria 3,740 0.03
33 Sierra Leon 154 0.001
34 Singapore 823 0.007
35. Somalia 440 0.003
36 South Africa 2,286 0.02
37. Spain 2,544 0.02
38. Sudan 6,259 0.05
39. Sweden 595 0.005
40.Switzerland 252 0.002
41 Syria 450 0.003
42 Tanzania 1,412 0.01
43. Tunisia 58 0.00
44. Turkey 716 0.006
45.Turkmenistan 1,225 0.01
46. UK 14,695 0.1
47. USA 6,294 0.05
48. Uganda 600 0.005
49. West Africa 316 0.002
50 Yemen 5,605 0.04
51 Zambia 1,093 0.009
52. Others 28,610 0.2
Total 11,291,932 100

The largest number of Pakistanis working abroad are laborers numbering 4.34 million a 38.4 % of total following by drivers 1.377 million a 12.19% and masons 0 .785 million 6.95%. There is a need more qualified doctors, nurses and paramedical staff to be trained as in near future there would more demand of these professionals.
Pakistanis Abroad by Profession

S.No Profession Total % of total
1 Accountant 59,090 0.52
2. Agricultural 348.354 3.08
3 Artist 6,873 0.006
4 Blacksmith 12,817 0.11
5 Cable jointer 14,619 0.12
6 Carpenters 529,084 4.68
7 Clerk/Typist 136,775 1.21
8 Computer/Analysts 28,897 0.255
9 cook 147,464 1.30
10 Denter 57,383 0.51
11 Designer 9,337 0.08
12 Doctors 26,424 0.23
13 Draftsman 13,815 0.12
14 Driver 1,377,137 12.19
15 Electricians 394,299 3.49
16. Engineer 81,574 0.722
17. Fitter 148,418 1.31
18. Supervisors/ Foreman 118,392 1.04
19. Goldsmith 11,239 0.09
20. Laborer 4,339,460 38.41
21.Manager 76,477 0.67
22. Mason 785,009 6.95
23. Mechanic 271,968 2.40
24. Nurse 8,947 0.07
25. Operator 184,972 1.63
26. Painter 223,792 1.98
27. Pharmacist 5,676 0.50
28. Photographer 1,962 0.017
29. plumber 213,357 1.88
30. Rigger 18,700 0.16
31. Salesman 185,162 1.63
32. Secr/Stenographer 8,426 0.07
33. steel fixer 353,298 3.12
34. storekeeper 29,922 0.026
35. Surveyor 34,359 0.30
36. Tailor 234,413 2.07
37. teacher 19,070 0.168
38. technician 458,000 4.05
39. walter/bearer 78,065 0.69
40. welder 163,096 1.44
41. others 75.810 0.67
Total 11,291,932

Skilled/Semi/unskilles

S.No category No of workers % of total
1 Highly Qualified 224,500 2.00
2 Highly Skilled 426,433 3.78
3 Skilled 4,813,502 42.63
4 Semiskilled 1,039,653 9.20
5 Unskilled 4,787,844 42.40
6 Total 11,291,932 100

Province wise share

S.No Province No of workers % of total
1. Punjab 5,467,775 51.18
2. Sindh 1,028,529 9.62
3. KPK 2,734,920 25.60
4. Balochistan 116,617 1.09
5. AJK 690,952 6.46
6. Northern Area 24,223 0.22
7. Tribal Area 540,556 5.05
8. Federal 80,267 0.75
Total 10,683,389 100

Year Remittances US$ ( Million)
2008 6,451
2009 7,811
2010 8,906
2011 11,201
2012 13,187
2013 13,922
2014 15,834
2015 18,720
2016 19,917
2017 19,351
2018 19,914
2019 21,840
Since a lucrative and handsome amount was sent by these expatriates and many families became habit of using a handsome amount on luxuries and fall in remittances would disturb their expenditure pattern. There is a need to promote simplicity and to rely on less income and to compromise with the emerging challenges.

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