No savings left for most OFWs: PSA

by Cai U. Ordinario, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jun 07 2014 09:42 AM | Updated as of Jun 07 2014 05:42 PM

Despite sending billions of remittances to their families in the country, only two in every five overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are able to save from their cash remittances, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Data showed that around 1.9 million OFWs sent remittances in 2013 and only 40.7 percent of them were able to set aside savings from their cash remittances.

This was lower than the 42.2 percent of OFWs who had remitted cash to their families had savings from cash remittances sent in 2012.

“Regardless of the amount of the cash remittances sent, for every 10 OFWs, six [61.7 percent] were able to save less than 25 percent of the total amount received, two [21.6 percent] were able to save from 25 percent to 49 percent of it, and about two [16.7 percent] saved 50 percent or more,” PSA added.

In 2013 the PSA said the total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2013 was estimated at P163.2 billion.

These remittances included cash sent home reached P118.7 billion; cash brought home reach P35.3 billion; and remittances in kind worth P9.1 billion.

The PSA said the majority of OFWs, or 67.4 percent, sent their remittance through banks while the rest, or 3.1 percent, were sent through agencies or local offices; door-to-door delivery, 2.3 percent; friends or co-workers, 0.5 percent; or through other means, 26.8 percent.

“OFWs from Asia had remitted the largest amount at P87.6 billion, or an average of P56,000 per OFW. OFWs from North and South America remitted an average of P86,000 per OFW and OFWs from Europe remitted an average of P78,000 per OFW,” the PSA said.

Data also showed that remittances of OFWs working as laborers and unskilled workers had the biggest share at 19.2 percent, or P22.9 billion. This means Filipino laborers and unskilled workers sent an average remittance of P38,000 each.

The PSA also said total remittance of OFWs working in Asia, comprising 81.2 percent of all OFWs, accounted for 73.8 percent of the total cash remittances. Remittance sent by OFWs in North and South America, and Europe accounted for 9.9 percent; Australia, 3.9 percent; and Africa, 2.5 percent.

“The remittances sent by OFWs to their respective families may just be a part of the total salary received by the OFWs. Data on remittances in this report are based on the answers given by the survey respondents to the questions on how much cash remittance was received by the family during the period April to September 2013 from its member who is an OFW, how much cash did this member bring home during the reference period, if any,” the PSA explained.

“Further, if the family received during the reference period goods and products sent by this OFW, the imputed value of such goods was included in his/her total remittance,” it added.

Based on PSA data, the number of OFWs who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2013 was estimated at 2.3 million.

The overseas contract workers or those with existing work contract abroad comprised 96.2 percent, or 2.2 million, of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2013.