Subin Mishra, The Himalayan Times, 19 Sep 2017
The government is planning to establish a remittance fund utilising the money contributed by migrant workers, non-resident Nepalis (NRNs) and other Nepali citizens residing abroad. With a plan to invest in mega projects prioritised by the government, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) is preparing the legal base to establish the aforementioned fund.
According to Arjun Paudel, undersecretary at MoLE, the government is preparing the draft to amend the Foreign Employment Act 2007, which will incorporate a provision to establish the remittance fund.
“The money collected in the fund through contribution of migrant workers, NRNs and other people living overseas will be invested in mega projects like hydropower and other infrastructure,” he informed.
MoLE is mulling over introducing a provision that will allow Nepalis residing abroad to contribute to the fund on monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis. According to Paudel, Nepalis living overseas would be free to contribute to the scheme as per their wish. “We are not fixing the contribution amount, but the government has planned to utilise the money on nation’s priority sectors,” Paudel said.
Upon contributing to the remittance fund, investors will get a share in projects funded by the fund. Contributors to the fund will get dividend from the profit of the firms in which their money has been invested.
As per the provision mentioned in the draft bill, MoLE will form a team to handle the fund under the coordination of labour and employment minister and representatives will be included from different concerned authorities — Ministry of Finance, Nepal Rastra Bank, and others.
According to Paudel, the MoLE has started preparing the draft bill as per the suggestion of study panel coordinated by its Joint Secretary Tej Raj Pandey. The study panel had submitted its report to the labour and employment minister last month.
The study panel suggested the government to implement remittance fund as long-term investment package for Nepalis living overseas. “The fund will provide the best investment option for Nepalis living abroad,” Pandey said.
Earlier, the Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Ltd (HIDCL) had taken the initiative to utilise the fund generated by migrant workers by investing in hydroelectric projects. HIDCL’s subsidiary Remit Hydro has initiated two projects in Taplejung district of eastern Nepal — Ghunsa (71.5 MW) and Shikhuwa (53.7 MW).