Kathmandu, July 11 :

Experts at an interaction today underscored the need of setting up of an alternative mechanism to promote foreign employment to bring in more remittance.

Despite a huge sum of money being sent in home by tens of thousands of Nepalis living and working abroad, the government has yet to recognise both the foreign employment and remittance as ‘top priority’ in policies and programmes, they complained.

“If the foreign employment is managed and different roles of concerned stakeholders is streamlined, the amount that Nepal is receiving today could easily double in a year,” they said while speaking at a workshop on ‘remittance and its impact on Nepali economy’, organised by Nepal Rastra Bank Ex-employee Association in the capital today.

Dr Yubraj Khatiwada, executive director at the NRB said that the foreign employment sector has become disorganised in an absence of alternative institutional mechanism, which has had its impact on remittance, too. “The sector lacks professionalism among manpower agencies and concerned government agencies. Foreign employment agencies are increasingly victimised,” he added.

Dr Khatiwada also noted that the government economic policies and programmes regarding foreign employment and remittance transfer need to be egalitarian to ensure inclusiveness.

“The foreign employment and remittance is not merely an employment agenda, it’s socio-economic dimension and its pivotal role in poverty alleviation should also be taken into notice.”

Highlighting the increasing trend of remittance, Dr Khatiwada urged for in depth study of foreign employment and the amount of remittance being transferred to Nepal through both official and unofficial channels. He further said that statistics of Nepalis working in new destination like Afghanistan and other countries need to be incorporated while calculating the amount.

Presenting a paper, Guru Prasad Neupane, president of the NRB Ex-employee Association- highlighted the trend of remittance received by Nepal, which is going up at an annual average rate of 12 per cent in the last decade.

“Remittance today is not only the main source of foreign exchange earnings, it has already outstripped export and tourism earnings and over 10 times more than that of foreign aid,” he said.

Besides maintaining the country’s balance of payment, the remittance has been pivotal at keeping the country’s economy afloat and alleviating abject poverty, he said adding that the remitted money, however, is spent mostly in unproductive areas.

Chandra Prasad Dhakal, president of Nepal Remitters’ Association, on the occasion, said, “Although the number of people sending money through official channels has substantially increased in recent years, there is an urgent need to make people aware on safety and benefits of using banking channels.”

He said that the remittance transfer agencies are working hard to distribute the money at the client’s doorstep in a shortest possible time. However, the government policy is discouraging for fund transfer locally.

Hari Shanker Tripathi, former governor and Bigyan Pradhan, foreign employment entrepreneur also expressed their views on the occasion.