As the world marks the International Day on Remittances, there has been a call to action to ensure free flow of remittances despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 global pandemic.
This was one of the resolutions reached on Tuesday to mark the day with a webinar entitled “A call to Action: Remittances in crisis; How to keep it flowing”, put together by the United Kingdom and Switzerland, with participants from Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Mexico, Jordan, the UNDP, IOM, International Association of Money transfer network ,UNCDF and the World bank.
In his welcome remarks, Mr Pietro Mona, Ambassador for Development, forced displacement and migration, Switzerland and Mr Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist & Head of KNOWMAD, World Bank, stressed the need to declare remittances an emergency and reflect on the challenges present as a result of Covid-19 and the challenges that lie ahead.
Chairman of NiDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, speaking at the event, called for a reduction in charges and levies on remittances as well as a more digitalised, secure and accessible service for all that will be attractive enough to channel informal mode of remittances through the formal channels already in existence.
The UK Minister for Africa Mr James Duddridge, Pakistan’s Finance Secretary Mr Naveed Kamran , DG Human rights, Mexico Mr Christopher Ballinas Valdés, Ambassador Amr – el Shebini from Egypt, and Jordan’s Adnan Allahasey , Chairman International Association of Money transfer Networks, UN Assistant Sec General and Director Crises Bureau UNDP, Ms Asako Okhai, and Miss Wen Li from IOM all lent their voices to the need to strengthen the digital capacity of users, regulate and reduce the cost of money transfer and remittances to developing countries.
There was also a call on remittance service providers to introduce solutions that will make transfer and remittance seamless and more efficient, especially in this era of covid 19 .
The need for more digital remittance platforms was also emphasized.
Nigeria, with the rest of the world, set June 16 every year as the “International Day of Family Remittances” or IDFR.
This observance, adopted by the United Nations (UN), is to recognise the quota diasporas render in enabling the economy of their homelands.
According to the UN, this group is estimated at over 200 million migrants who cater to the needs of 800 millions family members at home, who are mostly rural dwellers, in terms of feeding, healthcare and education.
In addition, the United Nations “aims to bring greater awareness of the impact that these contributions have on millions of households, but also on communities, countries, and entire regions.
The day also calls upon governments, private sector entities, as well as the civil society, to find ways that can maximize the impact of remittances through individual, and/or collective actions…”, (United Nations).
The theme for this year’s observance is, #IDFR2020 #FamilyRemittances:Building resilience in times of crisis.
This year’s event will be celebrated with such peculiarity because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption on political and socio-economic activities. Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, in his message, stated that although COVID-19 is still present, acknowledged the determination of migrants who still send money home despite the global health meltdown.
The UN Chief appealed to everyone to support these migrants, at a time when remittances depreciated more than $100 billion, resulting to hunger, closure of schools and degenerating health systems, and other challenges, for tens of millions of families, with women and girls having to be affected.