18 Oct 2005

Remittances from Fiji workers said to exceed revenues from tourism

10:49 am on 18 October 2005

Fiji workers overseas are estimated to have sent home over 270-million US dollars last year, which is higher than the amount of money the country retains from tourism.

The Fiji Times reports that the governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Savenaca Narube, has given the figure at a Fiji - Australia Business Forum now under way in Nadi.

He says personal remittances increased to 180-million US dollars last year, compared with just 30-million in 1999.

He says it is estimated that another 90-million US dollars in unrecorded remittances lifted the total to above the net retained earnings from tourism.

The Reserve Bank governor says everyone in Fiji should say thank you to the peacekeepers, security personnel, nurses, sports people and family members abroad for helping Fiji pay for its imports.

Mr Narube says this level of remittances warrants immediate national attention and more people should be helped to work overseas, with the government facilitating labour exports.

He says these remittances have come at an opportune time when Fiji's exports have been dropping for the last three years.