Remittances up 2.8% to $1.4B in Aug.

October 15, 2009

By Michelle Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: October 15, 2009

MANILA, Philippines–Remittances continued to grow in August, with household consumption also seen to pick up, supporting growth of the overall economy, monetary officials said.

In August, remittances amounted to $1.4 billion, up 2.8 percent from that of the same month last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported on Thursday.

“Remittances from workers overseas continued to underpin the resilience of the economy, remaining a stable source of foreign exchange for the country,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.

The August figure brought overall remittances in the first eight months of the year to $11.3 billion, up 3.7 percent year-on-year.

Remittances in the first eight months came mostly from Filipinos based in the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Germany.

The central bank earlier projected that remittances would register a flat growth this year. The BSP has since revised its forecast to an average growth of 4 percent, saying that the global turmoil had little bearing on the amount of money sent in by workers abroad.

There had been layoffs in recession-stricken countries. But remittances still rose because newly deployed Filipinos outnumbered those who had lost their jobs.

According to the BSP, remittances may even grow faster in the last few months of the year, noting that workers tend to send in more money in time for Christmas.

It also said that, with the global economy now on its way to recovery, remittances could even surge in the months ahead.

“As recent developments point to improving global economic conditions, a more favorable outlook for remittances through end-2009 is anticipated,” Tetangco said.

He said agreements forged by the government with labor agencies in other countries also helped sustain the rise in deployment of Filipinos abroad. While countries in recession were laying off workers, alternative labor markets were demanding more Filipino workers.

Cash transfers from over nine million Filipinos working abroad are equivalent to nearly 10 percent of the country’s economic output.


OFWs expected to send more money to families

October 15, 2009

October 12, 2009 05:41:00

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Remittances to the Philippines could grow 5 percent this year, higher than earlier estimates, as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) send more money home to help their families recover from the calamity wrought by recent storms and floods, a senior government official said at the weekend.

Remittances, a driver of consumer spending that fuels more than two-thirds of the country’s gross domestic product, have held up well despite the global economic crisis, growing 3.8 percent in the seven months to July from last year.

“(A) 5-percent (growth) is possible,” Augusto Santos, head of the National Economic Development Authority, told reporters. “OFWs are scattered worldwide and OFWs tend to send more during calamities.”

Santos said the expected global economic recovery would also push up remittance inflows.

He said stronger-than-expected remittance growth this year would likely offset the impact of recent typhoons and allow the Philippines to meet its 0.8-1.8 percent 2009 growth target.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has officially forecast remittances this year to match the record $16.4-billion inflow in 2008.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said 2009 remittances were expected to climb more than 3 percent.

“We are maintaining growth targets because typhoon damages are being offset by OFW remittances and spending on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Santos said.

Analysts expect remittances to grow 5.5 percent this year, higher than the International Monetary Fund’s 4-percent estimate.


Nigeria’s forests to disappear by 2020 — expert

October 13, 2009—-expert

Agence France-Presse
Posted date: March 28, 2008

KANO—Nigeria will lose all of its remaining forests in the next 12 years if the rate of deforestation remains unchecked, an environmental expert warned Thursday.

“Considering the rate at which trees are chopped down without any regeneration efforts … all of Nigeria’s forests will disappear by 2020,” Kabiru Yammama told AFP.

Yammama, who heads the National Forest Conservation Council (NFCCN), a body that acts as a consultant to the Nigerian government, said all forests in northern Nigeria have been depleted and deforestation is moving southwards.

“The north has lost virtually all its forests. Our 1999 survey showed that the rate of deforestation in northern Nigeria alone stood at 400,000 hectares per annum,” he said.

Nigeria uses 40.5 million tons of firewood every year, he said, adding: “Imagine the depredation wrought on the vegetation in the last decade.”

According to the most recent NFCCN report, released in 2007, 35 percent of arable land in 11 northern states has been swallowed by desert.

This has affected the livelihood of over 55 million people, more than the combined population of Mali, Burkina Fasso, Senegal and Mauritania.

Nigeria has the seventh-largest gas reserves in the world but has so far failed to harness them to produce affordable cooking gas, meaning the bulk of the population still relies on wood or charcoal for cooking.

“Now that the forests in the north are gone, attention has shifted to … southern Nigeria where trees are burnt for charcoal. This is more destructive than tree chopping because it is more rapid and kills all the flora and wildlife,” Yammama further warned.

“If this trend continues unchecked Nigeria will join the league of Ethiopia which has lost all its forests,” he said.

He cited desertification, rain shortages and drought as some of the consequences of deforestation that northern Nigeria is facing.

Earlier this month Nigeria’s meteorological agency warned that the rainy season is getting shorter, particularly in the north, where it has dropped to 120 days from 150 days 30 years ago.

Rain fell for even less than 120 days in the last crop season which adversely affected yields and sent food prices up.

Abuloy kay Ondoy – a charity event

October 9, 2009