In a rare instance of COVID-19 helping a country’ s economy, Pakistan saw a significant uptick in remittances from nationals working overseas in July. Analysts said workers were able to send the money home in part because COVID-19 prevented them from using it for the Hajj, the pilgrimage Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lifetimes to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia if their finances and health allow. Many Muslims visit Mecca more than once. The cancellation of many flights overall was also a factor, analysts said.
Pakistan’s central bank issued a news release on Monday (17 Aug 2020) attributing the increase in reported remittances in part to improvements in the channels used to send them – including a reduction in the threshold for a formal transfer to $100 from $200.