Policy dialogue on Nepali remittances held in South Korea

KATHMANDU: A policy dialogue and capacity building workshop on how to better use remittances for sustainable development in Nepal was held in Seoul, with Nepali and South Korean government officials, academics and civil society taking part in it, on January 26-28.

The three-day event was a part of the research project “The Role of Remittances as Effective Development Finance for Sustainable Development in Nepal” (Remittances Project), according to International Organization of Migration (IOM).

The event aimed at providing a platform to examine the challenges migrants and receiving countries face in utilising remittances for development, and to assist the two governments to make better policies to turn the hard-earned money into lasting wealth for receiving households and migrants themselves, according to the IOM, IOM said in a statement on Friday.

Since last year, the Remittances Project – which collects data from all points in the migration cycle – has been conducting a country-wide survey in Nepal for approximately 20,000 households including those with potential and returnee migrants, as well as surveys for 250 Nepali migrants currently in South Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS). First established in 2004, EPS is a bilateral agreement among South Korean government and 15 Asian countries for cross-border labour migration.

“Although remittances make up over a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and exceed all other external sources of foreign capital in Nepal, only 10 per cent of these remittances have been used for savings, household property, and education, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics,” said Miah Park, Head of Office at IOM Seoul, pointing out that the Government of Nepal recently emphasized the improved remittance use in its national development plan.

“Providing crucial data about migrants’ current situations, needs, and desires will help create the policies and programmes to promote social and economic development through remittances and resources gained abroad, while at the same time empowering migrants to gain the most out of their migration experiences,” she added.

IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Maurizio Busatti, together with representatives from the Government of Nepal, including officials from the National Planning Commission, Ministry of Labour and Employment, and Central Bureau of Statistics, also participated in the event.

The research project is funded the IOM Development Fund and KOICA, whereas the event was co-organised by IOM and Ewha Womans University (EWU).

KOICA and IOM Development Fund have been leading the project in Nepal and South Korea since its inception in January last year, in collaboration with IOM Nepal and the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS), a local research partner in Nepal.