Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Banking Problems Disrupt Tajik Migrant Money
Families in Tajikistan are struggling to claim money transferred to them because of hitches in the transfer systems used by relatives working in Russia.
One money transfer system called Migom folded earlier this year after a Moscow court declared the organisation behind it bankrupt. Then the other main method used by labour migrants, Kontakt, started having problems, and banks in Tajikistan abandoned it one by one.
That left people in Tajikistan unable to claim money that had been sent to them but was now stuck somewhere in the electronic banking system.
Huge numbers of households in Tajikistan rely on the money sent home by relatives working abroad, mostly in the Russian Federation. The cash also creates demand for goods and services and helps the Tajik economy scrape by. Annually, these remittances are equivalent to nearly 50 per cent of gross domestic product.
Many banks across Central Asia have stopped using the Kontakt transfer system because the head of the bank that runs it faces criminal charges.
One institution, Spitamen Bank, says it is still paying out Kontakt transfers because it recognises the money is vital to sustaining people’s daily needs. Finance experts say the migrants in Russia need to start using other money transfer systems.
Zarina Ergasheva is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan.
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