In contrast to repeated claims made by the authorities, worker remittances income plummeted as much as 60 percent from the same month last year extending the declining streak for the eighth consecutive month.
According to the latest data, the Sri Lankan migrant workers repatriated earnings worth of US $ 325.2 million during December 2021 compared to a US $ 812.7 million in the same month in 2020.
December is typically an outlier as migrant workers send more money back home during the festive month to their friends and families to celebrate the Christmas and New Year.
But December 2021 turned out be a dim one as migrants continued to either use unofficial money exchangers to channel their earnings for higher conversion rates or some altogether cut back on what they typically send back home as the new rules on foreign exchange conversions spooked them.
What is also surprising is the fact that the poor December remittances came amid various incentive and regulatory actions taken by the Central Bank to woo back migrants to use formal banking channels and to rein in on informal money changers.