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Fiji Time: 12:09 AM on Tuesday 22 April

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$300m remittance

Ropate Valemei
Saturday, December 29, 2012

PACIFIC islanders in Australia remit the highest percentage of their incomes back home, it has been revealed.

Fiji-based economist Dr Wadan Narsey told the Australian online media that though millions of dollars was received in international aid by Australia and New Zealand, there was also another major source of revenue. He said remittances were keeping many of the Pacific economies afloat.

"Fiji in the last 10 years, they've become absolutely vital, they amount to something like $F300million per year at the moment," Dr Narsey said.

In a report published in this newspaper last week, the highest number of emigrants to Australia was recorded from the Pacific Islands, with 50,000 Fijians now living there.

But it is excluded from remittance schemes such as the Seasonal Worker Program.

However, Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca said at the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress in Nadi early this year that an area of concern across the region was the high cost involved in remitting funds from overseas.

"As a result, a large portion of funds are channelled through informal means and therefore not captured in the financial system," Mr Waqabaca said.

He had said that remittance level therefore, could be understated.

Remittances is Fiji's second-largest foreign exchange earner after tourism.