Goans dependent on remittances from their NRI relatives left in a lurch



PANAJI: With banks and forex money changers closed in the state due to the coronavirus ordered shutdown, Goans who are dependent on remittances from their NRI relatives are left in a lurch.

Several residents who were expecting to receive money from abroad said that they were caught unawares by the sudden closure of banks and money exchangers as it was earlier understood that these services would remain open during the lockdown period.

A Margao resident called up the Navhind Times to say that, his sister in Austrralia sent Rs 20,000 via Moneygram but with money changers closed because of the curfew he had to do without the much needed funds. Remittances are also sent through banks and post offices but both the options were unavailable to him.

Several Goans especially from the south district receive remittances from abroad and are being put to hardships because of the closure of banks and money changers, said the resident. He added that, calling up the MoneyGram helpline also was no use.

Money changers in the state are closed since March 21, while banks although officially open have been asking customers to use digital services because of the coronavirus outbreak. Further not all bank branches have a forex division. Money exchange in banks are in select branches.

The state receives healthy remittances from overseas due to the large number of NRIs living in the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, etc.

“Some of the Goan NRI’s who have brought property send funds to their relatives regularly. Besides funds are also remitted to pay off hospital bills of elders at home and for daily living,”added the Margao resident who had called up to complain.

Thomas Cook, Wall Street Forex, Cox & Kings, Western Union , FCM Travel Solutions, etc. are some of the major money exchangers having branches in the state. With tourism industry in the state closed due to the coronavirus disease money exchangers said that, business is slow.

According to a previous study over six per cent of the state GDP is from remittances.