Govt to provide loans to returnee migrants who want to start enterprises

Kathmandu, April 16

The government is planning to provide loans to foreign migrant workers who have returned home due to the coronavirus pandemic and want to start their own businesses.

The government is drafting a programme to provide certain amount of money to migrants as loans by linking the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, Prime Minister Employment Programme, Small Enterprise Project, Prosperity Project and the project initiated to start industrial villages.

The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS) and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) are drafting a detailed integrated framework to launch the programme.

Chandra Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the MoICS, said that the government has started the necessary work to prepare the framework to provide loans to those who have come back from abroad due to the coronavirus and want to set up their enterprises.

“We will prepare a framework to integrate the aforesaid programmes and provide loans to returnee migrants to help them in their entrepreneurship goals.”

“We will provide loans and/or employment opportunities as per the migrants’ wish,” he said, adding, however, everything will be finalised after the integrated framework is drafted.

“The government will verify the skills of the youths who have returned from abroad and provide loans to those who want to start businesses that match their skills,” Ghimire said, adding, the skill provision and the amount of money that they will probably require to start their businesses will be included in the framework.

The integrated plan will be expanded in all the 77 districts and at every local level under the coordination of the federal government, he informed.

“We hope to include all the migrant workers who desire to start their businesses in the integrated programme,” said Ghimire, adding that there are an estimated five million Nepalis working as migrant labourers in various foreign destinations.

As per the initial understanding, more focus will be laid on local industries, including production sector, agriculture-based projects, construction-based projects and service-related projects.

“The migrants will be able to run vegetable production and distribution business, restaurants and hotels, aluminium and grill factories and rice mills,” said Ghimire. “Other areas where they can be involved in are water bottling and supply, sanitary pad production, medicine production, block industry and garments sector.”

Moreover, the returnee migrants will also be able to establish livestock, tea, coffee, orange, kiwi and strawberry farming, among others.

Meanwhile, the government through the budget of fiscal year 2018-19 has already started providing loans to returnee migrants.

As per the latest report prepared by the Foreign Employment Board, which is under Mo- LESS, there are around 200 youths who have returned from abroad and taken such loans to run small- and medium-sized businesses. The board has been providing loans of up to Rs one million to the returnee migrants.

Nearly 20,000 such migrants had applied for loans, but the board has not been able to provide loans to all of them.

Earlier, the Nepal Rastra Bank had also directed all commercial banks and financial institutions to provide concession loans to the youths who want to become self-employed. But till date only NMB Bank, Rastriya Banijya Bank and Agricultural Development Bank have been providing such concessional loans.