Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Banking Problems Disrupt Tajik Migrant Money

By Zarina Ergasheva











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.

This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union; and the Human Rights Reporting, Confidence Building and Conflict Information Programme, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.