The report that Ghana recorded as much as US$3 billion dollars in remittances must be good news for the country.
Indeed, it is good news because the remittances (the transfer of money by Ghanaians living abroad) to Ghana support both individual families and the economy.
It is, therefore, an important source of revenue which cannot be ignored.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs Office at the Presidency, Mr Akwasi Awua Ababio emphasised the importance of the remittances to the economy and observed that the inflow was more than revenue generated from export of gold, cocoa among others.
“This is even more than what we receive from donor countries as aid and it is time it is backed by policy so that the country continues to get that stream of income into the country” he said.
As a matter of facts, remittances have served as an important source of income for many countries in Africa due largely to the migration of a large number of the work force to rich western countries.
As a result, remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from 34 billion dollars in 2016 to 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent.
The good news is that, the increasing trend in remittances is expected to continue through 2019.
Sadly however, many countries in Africa that benefit hugely from remittances do not have policies to harness the effective use of remittances for the socio-economic development of their countries.
It is for this reason that a workshop was recently held in Accra, that brought together stakeholders to share ideas on how to reinforce the potential of remittances to the growth of the continent in line with achieving Goal 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is to reduce transaction cost of migrant remittances to less than three per cent by 2030.
Although continentally, efforts are being made to regulate the inflows, we call for a collaborative effort that would ensure that the country harnesses remittances for the development of the country.
The US$3 billion dollars remittances realised this year, form a considerable portion of the country’s GDP, particularly as it increases household consumption.
For the country to reap the full benefits of the remittances however, it is important to develop policies that would ensure that the inflows support the growth of the local financial system.
By so doing, the remittances can now become a lifeline for the government in times of need.