Grant us service industry status: NAFEA

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 14:

Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) has suggested the government to set up a separate department for foreign employment agencies and recognise it as a service industry. In a meeting with Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirti Nidhi Bista, vice-chairmen of the council of ministers and senior government officials, including Dr Bimal Prasad Koirala, chief secretary, NAFEA asked the government to grant them the status of a service industry, according to Nirmal Gurung, president of NAFEA. Currently, the department of labour and employment promotion (DoLEP) under the ministry of labour and transport management is a government authority that regulates foreign employment agencies, including other labour related issues. “With an increased flow of labour migration, foreign employment business has witnessed an exponential growth in recent years. Number of manpower firms has also increased dramatically which demands for a strong and effective regulatory mechanism,” he clarified. Such an authority will be needed not only to regulate them but also to carry out day-to-day affairs promptly.

“The nature of work and business that manpower industry have been doing is quite similar to the service industry,” he said, adding that such status would be helpful in making the manpower agencies more professional. According to him, NAFEA has asked the government to provide foreign exchange facility of $5000 to $25,000 for a manpower company, while visiting for promotional activities in the labour destination countries. It has also suggested the government to open technical and skill-oriented training schools in all the 75 districts of the country. NAFEA suggestion also includes developing a self-employment generation package to utilise skills and expertise learned abroad by the returnees. “We have been focusing mostly on promotion to send more and more labourers abroad. But now the time has come to think about proper utilisation of remittance and skills of those returnees,” he said. Other suggestions include recognition of good entrepreneurship that will encourage the manpower agencies to bring in more and more opportunities. “NAFEA has also asked the government not to increase the deposit of Rs 500,000.”

Hailing the recent bilateral labour agreement between Nepal and Qatar, NAFEA has recommended the government to sign more such accords with other labour destination countries as well. “The labour agreement with Malaysia is very urgent and should be signed as soon as possible,” Gurung said. He opined that the government’s ambiguous policies and tedious bureaucratic process should be corrected in order to reap benefits of potentials of foreign employment opportunities. Once the policy measures are simplified, a huge potential could be tapped and remittan-ces could be increase by 10 fold. “The government must correct its approach and modus operandi and should join hands with the private sector to tap the huge potential,” Gurung added.