Remittance increases at par with Diaspora
December 02, 2009: The year 2008 was certainly a turning point for enlarging the Bhutanese Diaspora, let we forget that refugees resettled from Nepal are not formally accepted as by the regime as Bhutanese.
As this new democracy moves with shoes of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for global business and opening up doors for young Bhutanese go abroad, the country is gradually moving to remittance-based economy.
According to the Royal Monetary Authority, the central bank of the country, Bhutanese outside sent home Nu 71.15 million in the first six months of the current year. This figure is only the money sent through Bhutan National Bank. The figures do not include money sent through informal means.
Compared to the first six months of the last year, this figure is an increase by 53 percent and about two-and-a-half times more than in the first half of 2007. In 2003, the total remittance was Nu 33.02 million, which almost doubled to Nu 62.57 million in 2004.
As projected, the global recess failed to affect the remittance service of Bhutan. The major sources of remittance for Bhutan include US, United Kingdom, Japan, Europe, Canada and Denmark, which are badly affected by the meltdown.
The increasing remittance has begun to show its effect back in home. Bhutanese people living outside have become the major buyers of land in Thimphu.
The level is likely to increase faster in the next few years as the resettled Bhutanese are absorbed into the job markets in US, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Netherlands and New Zealand and send money to their relatives back in the country. The transfer has already started, however, through informal means to ensure that their relatives in the country do not get harassment from the government on charges of contacting refugees.
The population of Bhutanese in third countries flew directly from Bhutan is vague but revolves around 5,000-10,000. This will abruptly swell to some 100,000 when resettlement of the refugees complete by early 2013.
Remittance will be the second source for national income of Bhutan after hydropower if the government changes its past policies to regard resettled Bhutanese as Bhutanese Diaspora, the mission for which has already begun.