Monday, April 22, 2024

Foreign dollars helping in tough times

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THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS Barbadians living overseas are remitting back home to loved ones annually is largely being spent on food and utility bills.

This finding, which economic researchers say is similar to what takes place in other developing economies, confirms that this “resource flow to Barbadian households is invaluable given the tough economic circumstances”.

This information is the result of An Exploratory Study Of The Use Of Migrant Remittances At The Household Level In Barbados conducted by veteran Barbadian economist Anthony Wood and University of the West Indies colleague Shari Watson.

Using data “obtained via a survey conducted at the money transfer operator Money Gram between April and June 2013, Wood and Watson said “the key finding is that remittances were used mainly for consumption purposes, in particular purchasing food and paying utility bills”, which they said “corroborates the findings of other studies on developing economies”.

They also concluded that “with respect to the frequency, the majority of recipients (71.8 per cent) were receiving money within short intervals (not exceeding one month)”.

“Coupled with the result that 92 per cent of the recipients received money from family members and 78 per cent of them used the remittances for their own purposes, it is quite evident that the resource flow to Barbadian households is invaluable given the tough economic circumstances,” the study stated.

One key area of concern from the research was “the small percentage of recipients who saved and [the] zero percentage not using some of the money for productive investments”.

The economists recommended the implementation of government policy “to provide business and investment advice to migrant families”, which “would allow these persons to become more financially literate . . .”. (SC)

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