20 March, 2018, 12:00 am
A TOTAL of 28,225 inward remittances were conducted via the mobile money channel during the August 2016 to July 2017 period valued at $8.1 million, the Reserve Bank of Fiji noted.
The central bank in its August 2016-July 2017 report presented to Parliament earlier this month stated that both the volume and value of inward remittances grew by 84.5 per cent and 68.1 per cent respectively.
This was compared with the 15,300 inward remittances valued at $4.8m registered in the previous corresponding period.
According to the report, the central bank noted that inward remittances continued to grow since the launch of the inward remittance facility in 2011 along with mobile money services provided by the mobile network operators (MNOs).
Total amount of inward remittances received through the mobile money channel as at July 2017 stood at $15.9m. Most of these funds came from the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Mobile money refers to the use of mobile phones to facilitate financial transactions such as making deposits and withdrawals, money transfers or making payments to companies.
In September 2011, the RBF approved the extension of mobile money services to include inward international remittances.
Mobile money was launched in June 2010 where about 141,576 person-to-person (P2P) transfers made valued at $14.8m as of July last year.
Since August last year, there were 40,324 P2P transfers valued at $4.4m. This compares with 26,487 P2P transfers valued at $3.2m in the same period in 2015-2016.
The average value of P2P transfers declined from $122.2 to $108.6 as at July 2017.
The number of registered mobile money customers stood at 853,342 compared with 721,923 in July 2016. The increase attributes to continuing developments in the mobile money space and Government’s Help for Homes Initiative.
Meanwhile, the report further noted that the total value of electronic money in circulation as at July 2017 stood at $10.4m compared with $7.1m in the same period in the previous year.
The significant increase was attributed to the second and third phase of Government’s “Help for Homes” initiative in 2017.
The central bank further stated that in line with the growth in inward remittances in 2016-2017, MNOs continued to develop and improve their services to the market through continued collaboration with international money transfer platforms.
The RBF further expects international money transfers via mobile money to grow primarily because it is the fastest and cheapest way of sending money when compared with traditional channels.
Inward remittances continue to be the critical driver of mobile money in Fiji and are an important source of income for many families in Fiji.
It is the second largest foreign exchange earner for Fiji just behind tourism earnings.
The major types of remittances to Fiji are gifts and donations of money from former citizens, friends.
This includes gifts and donations from Fijian citizens working abroad as peacekeepers, nurses, caregivers and sports personnel.
Fiji has maintained a steady annual growth of inward personal remittances over the past five years with a 19 per cent increase annually from 2000 to 2016.