Due to the COVID-19, World Bank had predicted that remittances globally would decline by 14% in 2021 compared to the pre-COVID times in 2019. However, Bhutan has seen no such downward spiral in remittance.
In fact, a total remittance of US$ 159.24mn was recorded in 2020, an increase by 12.57% as compared to 2019 which recorded a remittance of US$ 23.784mn.
Of the total remittance received through the formal channels, 80% was from Australia, followed by the United States (10%) and the Middle East (2.5%).
In an effort to support and incentivize remittance during the pandemic, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) opened Australian Dollar account at the Reserve Bank of Australia, to minimize exchange loss to the remitters through currency conversion while sending money.
In 2020, till September the remittance amounted to Nu 5,707.01mn while in 2019, the same period recorded remittance of Nu 1,983.35mn, and Nu 2,472.96mn in 2018.
The highest remittance was recorded in June 2020 with Nu1,129.66mn while the lowest was recorded in February with Nu 276.66mn.
The US$, AUD, Pound sterling, Euro, and other European currencies feature among the county’s remittance.
Figures revealed that the United States and Australia remain the top sources for remittances because of the increasing number of Bhutanese people traveling to these two countries to study and work.
The unofficial figures state that there are more than 1,000 Bhutanese living in US alone while more than 1,500 live in Australia.
Remittances have also been increasing with the launch of RemitBhutan in September 2016.
In Bhutan, remittances form 1.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
A bank official said that reason for the increase in remittances might be because Bhutanese living abroad despite the situation have continued to remit money.
Chencho Dema from Thimphu