APPRECIABLE ROLE OF BANKS IN SWIFT TRANSFER OF FUNDS
OVERSEAS WORKERS' REMITTANCES MAKE HISTORY
July 16 - 22, 2012
Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistani workers crossed $13 billion mark for the first time in the country's history during the last fiscal year (2011-12). The expats remitted a record amount of $13.187 billion during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2012, showing an impressive growth of 17.73 percent as compared to $ 11.201 billion received during FY11.
The continued impressive growth in workers' remittances is the result of the efforts made by Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in collaboration with other stakeholders to facilitate both overseas Pakistanis and their families back home. Since its inception, PRI has taken a number of steps to enhance the flow of remittances through formal channels which include:
a. preparation of national strategies on remittances
b. taking all necessary steps to implement the overall strategy
c. playing the advisory role for financial sector in terms of preparing a business case,
d. relationship building with overseas correspondents,
e. creating separate efficient remittance payment highways and
f. becoming a national focal point for overseas Pakistanis through round-the-clock call centre.
Undoubtedly, the growth in inflows comes at the heels of initiatives taken by the government to facilitate transfer of funds through formal channels, while some credit goes to stable economic prospectus in oil-rich countries. However, still sending remittance to its destination is not an easy task. The remitters face various problems in sending remittance through official channel, especially to the remote areas. The process of sending remittance through banks is slow and complicated. There is a lot of paper work and documentation is needed to send money through official channel. A major portion of remitters and remittance receivers are less educated. They are always afraid to do papers work, for that they like hundi system or take help of friends to send remittance. Lack of education plays a vital role here.
Manpower is one of the major national resources for any developing state. However, in the case of Pakistan, inadequate education and insufficient capacity of the local industry is responsible for a large section of the population remaining unemployed. At the current level of development it is not possible for Pakistan to absorb the full range of available unskilled, semi-skilled and professional manpower within the country in an appropriate manner and hence the need to find employment opportunities for them abroad.
The absence of a vibrant domestic labour market creates huge demand for overseas employment among the young labour force. Starting in 1980, over the years, still Pakistan has not emerged as a notable exporter of manpower and a steady source of human resources to a number of foreign countries who need to import manpower from other countries.
Unfortunately, Pakistan export very less professional or skilled manpower, and mainly exports unskilled labour. If government wants to earn more remittance, then she should export more skilled, semi-skilled labour. For that Pakistan should create more technical and non technical training institute in district level, according to meet the demand of their importers.
The Pakistan skilled and semi skilled migrant workers are mainly choosing the Middle Eastern countries as their destination along with UK, USA, Canada and now they are making their grounds in South East Asia. The most popular destination country in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. Half of all Pakistani migrant workers have migrated to this country. Saudi Arabia is followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait, Oman and - to a lesser extent - Bahrain, Qatar, Libya and Iraq. Then UK, USA and European states become the second major destination, however, in South-East Asia, Malaysia has been the main destination country for Pakistani migrant worker. Singapore and to a much lesser extent South Korea receive a significant number of labour migrants as well.
If we look at the remittances sending ratio, then we find out that their are four major destinations countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK, USA, summed to around $10.4 billion, accounting for nearly 79 percent of the total inflows received during the year. On the growth front, inflow from Saudi Arabia led the field. The share contributed from these four countries to Pakistan's remittance pie has increased successively over the past five years. With economic red flags rising high in the Western parts of the world, inflows from several European countries and Canada, already accounting for a razor-thin contribution in the country's total remittances pool, fell further during the year.
Remittance is the life blood of present economy. Right now population seems to a burden for economy. But with proper handling it, government proves that this huge population is not a curse for her, it's a blessing from almighty creator and Pakistan will be the leading nation in the world to earn remittance if the government and the related personnel take following steps:
* First, the number of skilled people and the skills and quality of the workforce has to be improved.
* Second, with margins come under pressure in the traditional markets, the overseas manpower companies, must be able to add to their international marketing infrastructure and skills so as to explore new markets, establish contacts with the staffing companies in the respective host markets and even deal with the employers directly. It is evident that the export of manpower from Pakistan is concentrated in only few countries dominated by the Middle East. Pakistan needs to progressively change this.
* Third, a massive up gradation and scaling up of training infrastructure and curricula needs to be attended to immediately, as prospective global employers would look for globally recognized certification.
* And lastly, fund crisis is a very crucial problem for migrant worker for migration. Therefore government should make a fund to help the unemployed young people to train them and to provide them loan with an easy and favourable condition. In this regard, microfinance institutions may help the government by giving micro credit and training to the migrant workers.
For this technical education can also play a vital role as technical worker has enormous demand throughout the whole world. To utilize this demand government and non governmental organizations can play a big role. If the government update the standard of their technical institutions and NGO's provide credit to the poor people and trained them, and government provides proper support, then it will possible for Pakistan to emerge as a leading manpower exporter country in the world.
In all these countries, infrastructure development related work continuous going on like construction of seaport, cargo terminal, railway tracks, hospitals, educational institutions, shopping malls and hotels. There are number of sectors where with a plan strategy government can provide manpower like
Accounts Advertising Agricultural Sector Architects Auto parts Banking Business management Construction Sector Domestic service Education Fishing Food Processing Food Preservation Garments Sector Health & Beauty Home/Special care Hotel Recruitment Information technology Insurance Landscaping Manufacturing Marketing Media Oil and gas Real Estate Sales Satellite technology Services Sector Shipbuilding/Repairing Tele-communication Trade Transport
Here is also the list of semi skilled personnel needed for various services:
AC mechanic Block Layer Caretakers/Handymen Cargo Handler Carpenter Catering Personnel Chemical and health Cleaner Construction Installer Construction Manager Cook Cutting Master Cutter Crane operator Crew Diploma Engineers Designer Draftsmen Drainage-Nets technician Driver Electrician Furniture Upholsterer Foreman Hospitality Hotel management Housekeeper Lab. Technician Lineman Machine Operator Maintenance Support Manager Mason Medical technicians Metal Workshop Nanny & Babysitting Operator Painter Physiotherapist Pipe fitter Pipe lifter Plasterer Plumber Receptionist Rigger Rod binder Road Equipment Tech Shuttering Steel fixer Surveyor's Technicians Tiles fitter Tourism Vehicle Mechanic Welder
In spite of this, appropriate preparation is required for targeting the aforementioned job areas. In every case 'Language Learning' courses should always be included.
Based on the changing nature of employer needs, a new collaborative and more organized approach needs to be followed by overseas manpower agencies, staffing and training companies, institutions, NGOs and government in Pakistan to spread its wing globally by sending more Pakistani and reaping benefits from the huge emerging opportunities from remittances income.
By that way Pakistan can earn huge foreign currency which helps her to emerge as a mid level income country soon and then develop country. It is a macro concept. If we think in micro level, we will observe a tremendous result. If a poor man may get the opportunity to go a develop country after getting best technical training, then in most case he will have the opportunity to earn more money than from Pakistan which will give his family a big push to exit from the domain of poverty. His earning not only push his family to exit from the domain of poverty but also it creates a spill over effect which help his relative or some of his society people to exit from poverty.