MoLTM bid to boost Nepali labour market abroad

KATHMANDU: Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) is adopting an aggressive strategy to promote the Nepali labour market abroad as it is shrinking in major destinations. The number of Nepali blue-collar jobseekers bound for Gulf countries and Malaysia has fallen by 22.33 per cent within a year — from 24,974 between mid-July and mid-August 2008 to 19,397 in mid-August 2009.

In a bid to promote the labour market, MoLTM has appointed a labour attaché each in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar last week. They will work for the promotion of the labour market and protection of Nepali workers, said Babu Ram Acharya, MoLTM secretary. “We will send them in a month after they get orientation about their job,” he said. MoLTM has appointed Surya Bhandari in Malaysia, Binod Khanal in Saudi Arabia, Dhurba Koirala in Qatar and Parbati Aryal in the UAE on Monday, reverting the decision of previous Maoist-led government. On May 6, MoLTM had appointed Amal Kiran Dhakal, Prakash Mohan Joshi, Parbati Aryal and Hari Devi Poudel as labour attaché in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, respectively. In January,

the government had decided to appoint labour

attachés in major labour destinations.

The appointment of the labour attaches had become a bone of contention between Minister Mohamed Aftab Alam and secretary Yub Raj Pandey, which later settled after the transfer of the secretary. Officials of MoLTM are wary of commenting on the matter. “I don’t want to comment on this,” said Acharya. MoLTM, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), has finalized the necessary procedure about the labour attachés, he added.

Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are major destinations where almost 90 per cent of Nepali overseas labour force works. Around 24,983, 35,852, 54,904 and 77,897 Nepalis had left for Malaysia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, respectively, in the fiscal year 2008-09, Department of Foreign Employment said. According to the Foreign Employment Act, the government should appoint labour attachés in a country where over 5,000 Nepalis work.

The labour attaches will work for two years in coordination with the concerned ministries and labour organizations for the safety and welfare of Nepali workers abroad. Earlier, Nepali diplomatic missions in destination countries used to attend to the issues but Nepali labour diplomacy was weak. So, Nepali labour market experienced the deep impact of global economic crisis in two major destinations — Malaysia and the UAE.