MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to push for the further reduction of remittance fees this year to help advance the welfare of the families of Filipinos working overseas.
BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said money sent home by Filipinos abroad play a major role in supporting the economy that was affected by the global economic slump.
“Total remittances account for 10 percent to 11 percent of the economy. So it’s a major sector,” Tetangco stressed.
He explained that one of the benefits that overseas Filipino workers’ remittances bring is basically the availability of more foreign exchange to finance the dollar requirements of the economy.
He added that OFW remittances also boost the purchasing power of the beneficiaries of Filipinos abroad, driving economic activities including manufacturing, services, and others.
Instead of a zero growth, the BSP sees OFW remittances increasing by four percent to a record $17.1 billion this year from $16.4 billion last year. Next year, the central bank sees the amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad rising by another six percent.
Latest data released by the BSP showed that OFW remittances climbed by 4.5 percent to $14.321 billion from January to October this year compared with $13.707 billion in the same period last year.
This after the amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad reached a new monthly record high of $1.531 billion in October, surpassing the previous record monthly level of $1.498 billion recorded last June due to higher transfers to help beneficiaries rebuild the damages caused by the recent natural calamities.
Tetangco said the BSP has signed a memorandum of agreement with member banks of the Association of Bank Remittance Officers Inc. (ABROI) to bring down the cost of remittances.
“To help advance the welfare of overseas Filipinos, we will continue to work for a further reduction in bank remittance fees, even as we had just recently signed an agreement with the ABROI,” the BSP chief stressed.
Under the agreement, member banks would be allowed to use the central bank’s Philippine Payments and Settlements Systems (PhilPaSS) to send the remitted money to the beneficiaries’ accounts in other banks.
OFW families are expected to save at least P92 million to as high as P922 million due to the faster and cheaper delivery of remittances to the beneficiaries at a lower rate of P50 per transaction instead of the current range of between P100 and P550 per transaction. –Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)