THE World Bank, on Thursday, declared that remittances to Nigeria fell by 10 per cent in 2016.
This, according to the bank, would be the second consecutive decline in remittances to the country, a trend contrary to what had happened in the last three decades.
However, Nigeria was not the only country affected by the development, as nearly all developing countries recorded a slide in remittances to them from their nationals in developed countries.
These were contained in the latest edition of the Migration and Development Brief, released on Thursday by the World Bank Group, during the World Bank/IMF spring meetings.
According to the World Bank, the decline in remittances was precipitated by low oil prices and slow growth in developed economies.
“Low oil prices and weak economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation are taking a toll on remittance flows to South Asia and Central Asia, while weak growth in Europe has reduced flows to North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa,” the World Bank said.
It, however, added that beside these factors, the decline in remittances recorded by Nigeria was also caused by “diversion of remittances to informal channels due to controlled exchange rate regimes.”
Speaking on the development, Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, said “remittances are an important source of income for millions of families in developing countries. As such, a weakening of remittance flows can have a serious impact on the ability of families to get health care, education or proper nutrition.”
This is true about Nigeria because, according to Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Matters, during a visit to the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, in December 2016, Nigerians in diaspora had remitted a total of $35 billion in 2016 alone.
However, while the bulk of developing countries had a slide in the inflow of remittances, two countries recorded an increase. These are Mexico and the Philippines, which saw inflows increase by an estimated 8.8 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, last year.
The World Bank, however, said remittances to developing countries were expected to grow by an estimated 3.3 per cent to $444 billion in 2017.