LAHORE  - Declining oil price may not impact remittance flows as the major oil producers have built-up high foreign-exchange reserves to deal with such eventualities. This was stated by Dr. Ishrat Hussain, former Governor of the State Bank and currently Dean, IBA Karachi at the inauguration of the Centre on International Migration, Remittances and Diaspora (CIMRAD) at the Lahore School of Economics.

Dr. Hussain said that while other parts of the world from Europe to Japan are seeing a declining population, Pakistan’s youthful population may be an asset to the world if properly invested in. He alluded to the faulty notion of a “brain drain” and instead in the new globalized economy it is in fact a “brain circulation” which pays dividends to both sending and receiving countries. He encouraged graduates to get experiences to become the best professionals they can be—including gaining international exposure. He stressed the need for further studies using new data bases, for example BISP Score Card to analyze the impact of remittances on poverty, education, and health care.

 Dr. Rashid Amjad, Director of the newly established Centre said that remittances are increasing at a 15% growth rate not just in Pakistan but globally. Pakistan received an amount of $16 billion as remittances in the year in the year 2013-14 which are equivalent to 6% of GDP. These are expected to reach US $18 billion in 2014-15 fiscal year. The Pakistani diaspora is estimated to be 7 million worldwide but could well be higher.  Enrico Ponziani, Chief of Mission International Organization for Migration (IOM), stressed how important it was for migrants to be able to protect themselves and their contributions to their home country should be acknowledged. He said additionally however, it should be realized that while first generation immigrants tend to send money back home future generations are more likely to invest in their new countries and are less likely to see themselves as Pakistanis.

Mr. Jose Lopez-Calix, Senior Economist at the World Bank stated how the Centre can help study how remittances can do better for the economy in terms of investment. He said an interesting area of study is whether they are truly able to help remove a family from poverty. Mr. Lopez-Calix also stated programs the World Bank is considering regarding remittances and growth includingissuing of diaspora bonds.

Dr. Naved Hamid, Director, Center for Research in Economics and Business (CREB) reflected on how remittances affect every aspect of the economy and how the actual rate remittances can be as high as 10%.

Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector Lahore School of Economics, declared the Centre open while hoping that its work will highlight the problems, desires, and prejudices faced by the Pakistani diaspora.