Inward remittances via UAE Exchange may touch Rs 5,000 cr

Kochi: UAE Exchange and Financial Services, the leading money-transfer and money-change institution in West Asia, is expecting the inward remittances to India through it to touch Rs 5,000 crore in the current year.

The remittances had reached Rs 4,800 crore last year. Kerala accounts for 60 per cent of the remittances through the company. Out of total remittances of $10 billion flowing to the country, UAE Exchange has a 12-per cent stake, say company chairman Abdulla Humaid al-Mazroei and vice-chairman and managing director B R Shetty.

The company makes 80,000 remittances a month to India. The average amount of remittances per transfer is around Rs 12,500. The non-resident Indians (NRIs) in West Asia are among its loyal customers. In all, 82 per cent of remittances through UAE Exchange come to south India; Punjab accounts for 9 per cent and the balance 9 per cent is mopped up by the rest of the country.

A member of the Abu Dhabi-based $2.8-billion NMC group of companies, with diverse interests in hospitals and hospitality industry, the UAE Exchange started operation in 1995, and is headquartered in Kochi. It has now 92 automated branches spread over the country with 41 branches in Kerala, which has a sizeable population of NRIs working outside.

The company activities also include air-ticketing, insurance, software development and other allied services. The company has commenced operations in Australia, and Shetty says the company plans to open 20 branches there. It already has offices in the US, the UK and in many Asian and African countries.

It will soon venture into the pharmaceutical sector, equipped with a drug licence from Pfizer and Ranbaxy for production. The company plans to strengthen its IT operations from Kochi, which now predominantly cater to in-house projects.

As part of expanding its services in India, UAE Exchange is planning to introduce door delivery of remittances with permission from the Reserve Bank of India. At present, the person receiving payments has to go to the local office of the UAE Exchange to collect the amount.

Yet another plan is to launch Internet remittance facility for the consumers. "We are ready for this facility. But several local banks haven't achieved full interconnectivity. Once that happens, the facility will be introduced," says al-Mazroei."