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The pandemic left more than 300,000 Dominican households without remittances

The mission of the International Organization for Migration in the country proposed to the government a series of measures to help those affected

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) -which is part of the United Nations- estimates that more than 300,000 Dominican households stopped receiving family remittances due to the impact of measures to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

The head of the agency’s mission in the Dominican Republic, Josuè Gastelbondo, said that “it is close to reality to affirm that a little more than half of Dominican households receive remittances, and that there are currently about 300,000 Dominican households of low and medium incomes who stopped receiving remittances in March, just when the loss of jobs and sources of income began in the country “by COVID-19.

Gastelbondo added that the drop in remittances that the country has registered is unprecedented and is not even comparable to that registered during the 2009 global financial crisis. He added that the average amount of remittances sent to the country fell by $ 15, from $ 226 in March 2019 to $ 211 in the same month this year.

This Tuesday the Central Bank reported that between January and May 2,737 million dollars were received in family remittances, an amount -4.6% less than that registered in the same period of 2019.

The Dominican Diaspora

Most of the Dominican population that has emigrated live in the United States, Spain and Italy, which are just three of the countries that have been most affected by the pandemic. Almost 90% of the remittances that the country receives come from those three nations, where more than two million Dominicans live.

From the International Organization for Migration we consider that it is time to repay the Dominican diaspora for their commitment and contribution to the development of the country,” said the head of the IOM mission in the Dominican Republic.

In this sense, he said that several initiatives related to the issue of remittances, social exclusion and its effect on society are being worked on. Gastelbondo said that the creation of a donation fund for the return and reintegration of Dominican families who want to return to the country is proposed, as well as technical support to the Central Bank to “carry out studies and methodologies for measuring and reducing the cost of shipping and receipt of remittances, thereby generating savings in favor of the population. ”

Also, IOM proposed to the Vice President of the Dominican Republic an analysis of the database of families receiving family remittances to identify and include part of the more than 300,000 low and middle income households that stopped receiving shipments from relatives. from abroad. The idea, Gastelbondo said in a statement, is for those households to be included in the “Stay at Home” social subsidy program. Remittances represent a source of income for the most excluded Dominican families and savings for the State in social care. According to data from the most recent National Survey of Household Expenses and Income 2018, presented by the Central Bank earlier this year, 21% of the monthly income of the country’s poorest households comes from money sent by their relatives, whether from another country or another province. The study indicated that these households receive an average of 2,258 pesos per month for these transfers, with which they complete the income of 10,743 pesos that they usually have.

2020 forecasts

Last April, the World Bank referred to the decline it projects for remittances this year, amid the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The rise in unemployment in the countries where migrants live and the salary reductions they have suffered are some of the situations that impact the sending of cash to family members. For this reason, the multilateral organization estimates that remittances will drop this year by 20% in developing countries.

In an article published by the IOM, Marcelo Pisani, its regional director in Central America, North America and the Caribbean, explained that migrants send an average of 15% of their monthly income to their families. “That money represents up to 60% of the income of the families that receive them. This gives an idea, first, of the difference in income between the countries of origin and destination and, secondly, of the enormous importance of remittances as a resource to overcome the most serious situations of poverty, “said Pisani.

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