Dividend and profit repatriation on foreign direct invest was almost negligible in FY23 and also lowest in at least the last 15 years. Total repatriation of FDI stood down by 82 percent year-on-year, during 11MFY23, reaching $313 million versus $1.6 billion in similar period last year. And the situation will be no different for FY23. The massive decline in the repatriation of profits and dividends by the multinational companies has come forth due to the fragile foreign exchange reserve position in the country and the resultant curbs by the central bank on dollar outflow including the restrictions on imports to support balance of payments
Furthermore, the fall in MNC repatriation has been attributed to the country's negative economic activity, which has resulted in lower profitability and a decrease in dividend releases by subsidiaries. Earnings and company activity have also declined, forcing existing investors to reconsider and go as they struggle to repatriate profits and dividends due to the dollar scarcity. IMF deal delay has been adding to the miseries of the economy.
The suspension of profit repatriation since the beginning of FY23 can be seen form the illustration where despite FDI of $1.3 billion, the outflow of dividends and profits remained negligible. Market sources suggest that the halt in repatriation was felt across all multinational companies be it small or big; and also across sectors be it power, telecom, transport, energy or food and beverages. Also supported by monthly data released by the central bank, industry experts highlight that the decline in repatriation of dividends and profits started after April 2022.
While MNCs operating in the country have faced immense volatility and instability in the past, this kind of squeeze has not occurred before. It has not only affected the existing foreign investors, but has tainted the investment landscape that is already battling several challenges. Some hope however on the repatriation front has emerged due to the IMF agreement and the possibility of lifting the limit on the foreign exchange outflow.