16 Sep 2003

Fiji remittance earnings soar to $US116m

6:31 am on 16 September 2003

Remittances by Fiji nationals working abroad soared to a record 116 million US dollars last year.

The Fiji Times reports that the remittances from nurses, rugby players, soldiers, teachers and other skilled workers could soon overtake sugar as the country's third highest foreign exchange earner after tourism and garments.

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Savenaca Narube, is quoted as saying the remittances are one of the main sources of funds for domestic spending that is now the main driver of the economy.

Mr Narube says most of the growth occurred over the last three years with the figure growing four times since the 1994 level of 28-million US dollars.

He says if Fiji soldiers are deployed in Iraq, this amount will continue to grow.

More than 5-thousand people migrate from Fiji every year, many of them professional and skilled people.