DUSHANBE, January 20, 2011, Asia-Plus -- 2.1 billion U.S. dollars have been remitted to banks in Tajikistan over the first eleven months of 2010, which is 27 percent more than in the same period of 2009, Sharif Rahimzoda, the head of the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) announced at a news conference in Dushanbe on January 20.

“Compared to 2009 remittances to Tajik banks considerably increased last year, but they are still far from the record figures of 2008, when 2.6 billion U.S. dollars were remitted to banks in Tajikistan,” the central bank head noted.

On the last year’s remittances, Rahimzoda noted that they have not yet received data from Russia for December.  “I am sure that data from Russia for December will considerably increase the volume of remittances made to Tajik banks in 2010,” he added.

Compared to 2008 remittances to Tajik banks in 2009 fell 31.3 percent and amounted to 1.8 billion U.S. dollars.

According to Rahimzoda, the 2009 decline in remittances resulted from negative impact of the global financial crisis on the economy of Russia, which is the main destination country for labor migrants of Tajikistan.  Almost 90 percent of Tajik labor migrants are working in the Russian Federation.

Labor migrants remain a critical component in the economy of Tajikistan as their remittances keep many families in the country above the poverty line.  According to official data, an estimated 700,000 Tajik seasonal workers travel abroad each year, primarily to Russia, seeking better employment opportunities.