Plum posts to be shared among four ministries

KATHMANDU: The government has decided to create over three dozen posts in Nepal’s various embassies, other diplomatic missions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Cabinet, which recently endorsed an O&M Survey, has created at least 43 posts — from non-gazetted first class officer to joint secretary level — at over a dozen foreign embassies, missions and consulates, confirmed Tara Prasad Pokhrel, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

These posts will be shared among four key ministries — MoFA, Ministry of General Administration (MoGA), Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE).

As per the decision, two joint secretaries will be sent from MoGA — one each at Nepal’s embassy in Beijing, China and Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Likewise, MoF will send two under-secretaries as economic-counsellors — one each at Nepal’s consulates in New York, USA and Kolkata, India.

MoLE will send labour attaches to Nepali embassies in Abu Dhabi of the UAE, Doha of Qatar and Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia as well as a consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Pokhrel said.

MoFA will have the largest share of postings, with 13 posts at the ministry in Kathmandu and 22 at different embassies, missions and consulates, mostly based in the Gulf states and Malaysia.

Among them, 19 are officer rank posts and remaining 16 are non-officer’s level. Nevertheless, a joint-secretary post of MoFA has been curtailed, according to spokesperson Pokhrel. Many have questioned the relevance of deploying senior officers from outside foreign service in key diplomatic missions like Beijing, Jeddah and New York.

“It seems that ministries are sharing diplomatic posts among themselves rather than properly assessing what posts should be created in which missions,” said a former foreign secretary requesting anonymity. MoGA has the say in creating postings while MoF has the say in allocating the necessary budget from them.

The creation of unnecessary foreign postings will increase financial burden of disaster-hit country, the foreign secretary added.

Over ten million rupees is required annually as salary, perks and other benefits for just a single officer and his/her dependents in Nepali embassy in Washington DC or others missions in Europe or other developed countries.

However, the demand of more human resources, including labour attaches in Malaysia and Gulf states, was high as Nepali embassies there have been facing work burden due to lack of enough working hands. Nepal’s ambassadors to the Gulf region in September had pressed Prime Minister Sushil Koirala for creating more postings at embassies based in labour destination countries.