Foreign ministry revamp mooted

Kathmandu, December 27:

Three more divisions have been proposed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to effectively coordinate the issues related to foreign employment, correspondence with Non-Resident Nepalis, annual programme evaluation and to streamline the activities of Nepali missions abroad.

According to the Organisation and Management Survey headed by Suresh Pradhan, spokesperson, MoFA, the ministry needs to review its staff strength and organisation structure to support the increasing work load.

At present, the ministry has seven divisions: South Asia and SAARC; North East Asia, South East Asia, Far East Asia and Pacific (NSEA); Europe-America West Asia and Africa; United Nations, International Organisation and International Law; Multilateral Economic Affairs; Protocol and Administration.

The survey recommended setting up Economic Relations, Plans and Policies Division and West Asia and Africa Division. Considering increasing work load at Europe-America, West Asia and Africa Division, which covers a large geographical region, it has recommended carving out Europe-America Division and West Asia and Africa Division.

The divisions would be headed by a joint-secretary of diplomatic service and would require under-secretary, section officer and non-gazetted officers.

Under economic relations, plans and policies division, economic diplomacy, plans and monitoring section, and NRN and foreign employment management sections would be set up. The former section would be undertaking economic diplomacy, WTO, including multi-lateral economic affairs, policy analysis, and coordination and monitoring of annual activities of Nepali missions abroad.

The latter would be laden with the responsibilities undertaken by existing Legal Consultation and Consular Section, coordinating activities of foreign employment, as well as NRN issues. A standing mechanism between MoFA and Ministry of Labour and Transportation is required to resolve issues related to foreign employment.

There are at least 302 openings at the ministry. The survey proposed to add 29

seats and reduce 52 seats from various divisions and missions, which will result in 279 seats in the ministry, consular office and foreign missions abroad.