Thursday, 25 March 2010 6:34 AM

Website Seeks Savings for Pacific Islanders Remitting Money Home

The Honorable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the Honorable Georgina te Heuheu, Pacific Island Affairs Minister, visited the Send Money Pacific Stand during Pasifika Festival, Western Springs Park on 13th March 2010, to learn how Pacific Islanders can save when sending money home to their families.

Pacific people can use www.sendmoneypacific.org to quickly compare what different money transfer operators charge and how long they take. Information is also provided on how much money is received at the other end in local currency. This jointly funded by AusAID and NZAID website is free and provides impartial and easy-to-understand information regarding the many choices available when sending money from Australia or New Zealand to families and friends in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

High fees for sending money to the Pacific Islands through banks or money transfer operators erodes the earnings of people remitting money and means less can be sent to those needing it most.

Client manager for the website developer, Developing Markets Associates (DMA) Ltd, Jonathan Capal says it is a joint initiative that followed on from World Bank studies that looked at remittance costs for transferring money from one country to another.

"This region has the highest remittance costs in the world," he says.
"In the UK it costs less than 5 percent to transfer money to India. In New Zealand there is a cost of up to 30 percent, including fees and foreign exchange, to send money to the Pacific."

Money transfer operators have taken note since the website went live, says Capal.
"No-one likes to be seen as the most expensive," he says

The World Bank website cites international best practice as having remittance fees between one and five percent. Money sent to the Pacific region, from New Zealand and Australia, incur fees on average anywhere between 3 and 25 percent, that rates amongst the highest remittances costs in the world.

About www.sendmoneypacific.org:

SendMoneyPacific is a joint Australian and New Zealand Government-led project called "Reducing the Cost of Remittances to the Pacific". It has been developed and managed by Developing Markets Associates Ltd (DMA)

If you would like to receive further information on DMA or www.sendmoneypacific.org, please do not hesitate to contact us:

PO Box 1041 Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Tel + 61 2 (0) 2 9212 3400
M:+ 61 (0) 414 352 132
smp[at]developingmarkets.com

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province
By JAQUE FRIEDMAN New Zealand