World Bank predicts sharp declines in remittances
In the last five years, an average of US$2 billion in remittances has come into the island each year, mainly from the US.
Now, the World Bank has projected that global remittances are set to fall by as much as 20 per cent this year, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For Jamaica, this could mean US$400 million less in inflows from its main remittance sources.
The projected fall in remittances, which would be the sharpest decline in recent history, is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, the World Bank outlined.
As of Thursday, April 23, around 26 million residents in the US have applied for unemployment benefits.
Meanwhile, data released by the Jamaican government mid-April show that 47,000 Jamaicans have applied for unemployment benefits. This number includes persons who have been laid off since March 10.
With remittances taking a hit, the data indicate that around 500,000 individuals are in trouble in Jamaica.
The World Bank is worried most of all about the ability of households affected to buy food under COVID-19 conditions.
The Bank has said that the diminishing purchasing power of the poorest will also have to be considered in solving problems of the food supply.