Vietnamese living abroad remitted over 5 billion USD to Ho Chi Minh City last year, 4.2 percent higher than in 2013, according to figures released at a meeting held by the city's Committee for Overseas Vietnamese on January 21.

Since 1993, total remittances through official channels have amounted to nearly 96.7 billion USD, or an average 4.4 billion USD per year and accounting for 6.8 percent of the city's economy.

Last year overseas Vietnamese hailing from HCM City took part in many social activities including building houses for the poor and concrete bridges to replace bamboo bridges in remote areas and grant scholarships worth over 3 billion VND (15,000 USD) to poor students.

The committee also coordinated with the overseas Vietnamese communities in Laos and Cambodia to organise medical examinations and give gifts worth nearly 1 billion VND to some 1,300 ethnic Vietnamese and locals living in Laos' Savannakhet province and Cambodia's Prey Veng province.

According to the committee, HCM City welcomed 756,974 overseas Vietnamese in 2014 and nearly 1,000 of them visited the office of the HCM City Committee to learn about new policies and laws on investment, business, labour, residency, land and house management, nationality, and inheritance.

Speaking at the meeting, Vice Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Le Thanh Liem hailed the contributions made by the Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) community to HCM City.

He urged the committee and relevant agencies to help overseas Vietnamese facing difficulties and provide support and guidance to businesses established by the community.

At the meeting, the People's Committee awarded certificates of merit to four organisations and two members while the committee awarded its own certificates of merits to 10 organisations and 35 members for their contributions to the activities of the community abroad in 2014.-VNA