In the first half of this year, remittance flows from the Russian Federation to Tajikistan have declined by 22.1% YoY, Jamshed Nourmuhammadzoda, the head of the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT), announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on July 25.
He attributed the decline in remittance flows to stagnation of Russia’s economy.
According to him, an amount equivalent to 67 billion Russian rubles has been remitted from Russia to Tajikistan over the first six months of this year.
Under the current exchange rate this amount is equivalent to $1.03 billion. In January-June 2015, a total amount of remittances sent from Russia to Tajikistan was equivalent to $1.16 billion.
The economic contraction in Russia, a major remittance source country, has resulted in migrant job losses while the depreciation of the ruble has reduced the real incomes of migrant workers in Russia and reduced the value of remittances in US dollar terms. Central Asian countries are the hardest hit, due to their heavy dependency on remittances from Russia.
Tajikistan is the world’s most remittance dependent country, with remittances constituting 45% of GDP in 2014.
Tajik officials say the number of Tajik migrant workers who left to Russia and other countries in the first half of 2016 has dropped by nearly 8% YoY.
Over the first six months of this year, 308,676 labor migrants, including 40,682 women, have left Tajikistan seeking better employment opportunities, down by 8% or 27,949 people YoY, Tajik Minister of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Population Ms. Sumangul Taghoyzoda announced.
Over the report period, Tajik seasonal workers have reportedly traveled primarily to Russia (301,654) but also to neighboring Kazakhstan (6,043), Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
“160,434 people, including 3,928 women, have returned to the country over the same six-month period, down by 14% or 27,034 people YoY”, the minister said.
Taghoyzoda said the decline in labor migration was connected with the financial crisis in Russia, the weakening of the country’s currency, as well as Russia’s tough new regulations for migrants.
Taghoyzoda says Tajikistan has received the bodies of 436 of its citizens from Russia in H1. (Asia-Plus/Business World Magazine)