Remittance Economy: Appealing or Appalling?

Published On: December 4, 2021 06:30 AM NPT By: Dr Atindra Dahal

People’s increased purchasing capacity won’t matter if we can’t hold the money home. Capital flight adds to the problems and hikes dependency. 

Youths, the proficient power-house for the nation’s development, are endlessly departing to foreign countries irrespective of gender, age, location, religion, and other traits. World War I alarmingly initiated the trend of foreign employment among Nepali youngsters. Subsequently, being a clerk and working on various tea plants of eastern India increasingly infatuated people to leave the nation. Currently, above six million youths are in foreign jobs. As per a report from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, approximately half a million people seek foreign work permits annually. People off to India, flying overseas through personal connections or as students are still unrecorded. Each of them unequivocally exhibits painful anxiety and agony. Most of them state that they felt compelled to move away, sensing no future in the country. Such a sordid elaboration indicates that the prosperity of the nation is mutilated, vulnerable and irreparable too. That pessimistic perception has further fueled the trend of flying abroad at any cause and cost. Consequently, remittance has been the sole source of our economy at present. 

Sole Source

As an utter dismay of social blight, we are surviving on the remittance sent by those who have flown away after exhibiting the height of frustration. Economists call us a remittance-sustained nation. The World Bank’s research ‘Large Scale Migrants and Remittance in Nepal’ estimates approximately 232 million employment migrant workers across the world with a substantially huge share from Nepal. After Tajikistan and the republic Kirgiz, Nepal has the highest ratio of remittance’s contribution to the economy. Tentatively 12 out of 15 billion dollar budget is from remittance but we are ignominiously misjudging it as a splendid accomplishment in light of easy earning. Nonetheless, the leadership - having the onus to prosper the nation - shamefully and indifferently witnesses desolate failure. 

Nations like Japan, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam have achieved galloping economic growth of double digits in recent decades. The entire world addresses them as ‘tiger economy’ owing to the swiftly rising curve of economic development and prosperity. The exponentially exceptional graph of rapidly rising economies in a couple of Asian countries is even addressed as ‘Dragon Economy’, Scholar Leonin Grinin’s Research concludes. Economic development has been the first priority for others but politics in our country has always been about power-mongering. Thus, a mass of disheartened youth is bound to leave the nation, envisioning only a humdrum ahead. People were desperately hoping that this tragedy would end as we have a seemingly stable and strong government, however, expectations seem to turn into mere half-baked unachieved missions.   

Sides advocating foreign employment unnecessarily exaggerate and fantasize it as an attractive choice and good help to the nation’s economy. But, no country in the world has developed from remittance, till today. Rather, its heavy flow drives the nation to darkness, and we are heading at a perfectly flawless experience of very destiny.  

Darkness ahead!

Intellectually and mentally sound human capitals tend to disappear in advanced nations. Physically fit cum worthy people for sweat-showering jobs work in the Gulf countries. The country’s young and energetic mass is devoted to sweating for and prospering other nations. How sweet would it be provided the effort was made in-house? 

Following their absence, our society is suffering from many social, economic, moral, and sexual misconducts. Family disintegration and legalized abortions are rife. About four thousand cases of divorce were registered in Kathmandu district alone in yesteryear. Spousal sensuality and parental canopy for children are evidently diminishing, leading to erosion in family values cum beauty. Asymmetric social composition (only aged, females and children around the nation) is remitting various psychological problems and predicaments. Where is our society heading? The book Sociology by A Gidinskrit remarks that foreign employment spoils the family system. We are a matching example.  On the other hand, only mentally and physically substandard people seem to remain in the nation. When, how and who immerses into a prosperous nation once all capable and hopeful work is done beyond the border for others? 

Foreign employment can sustain the economy for the short term but can’t build long-term prosperity. A strong self-dependent economy is a must to materialize success. But our youths are engaged outside. Even after returning, youths buy the same, what they produce in a foreign land. We don’t have the production of such goods that they would purchase. Both the production and sale from other nations keep accelerating. People’s increased purchasing capacity won’t matter if we can’t hold the money home. Capital flight adds to the problems and hikes dependency. ‘Governing Labour Migration in Nepal’ by Bandita Sijapati and Amrita Limbu unfolds the same fate of the nation. 

Foreign employment has many pains over the little gains. On average, three people die a day; heart failures and in-house work accidents are the reasons. Mostly, employment is neither safe nor legally secured; people are grossly under-paid too. Many migrant workers are reported to be engaged in 3D (dirty, dangerous and disgusting) jobs. Meanwhile, we have excessively consumed foreign workers as around three million Indians work here. The latest reports reveal that Nepal is the 7th largest remittance provider to India. Besides double-barrel deterioration of the economy, the height of heart-rending dependency has been experienced in the last 20 years. The international society treats Nepal as ‘a pauper where the citizens are inundated with trauma and psychological distress’. 

Rich nations have negligible remittance-ratio in their budgets. Thus, our increasing ratio shows we are becoming poorer. In case, foreign employment shrinks or shuts down, where do we stand then? When do we work for ourselves if we always sweat for others? How long can we run home after begging? Foreign employment is illusionary enough as wine, which tantalizes for the short-term but causes incurable cancers in the long-run. Thus, we should initiate affirmative actions before it is too late to lament.  

Affirmative gesture

The government ought to act to keep youths engaged at home. The Foreign Employment Act 2042 tried managing foreign employment; but to save the nation, we should substitute it rather than constituting it with improvements. Proposal funding must be encouraged so that various innovative start-up businesses can be installed. Agriculture is to be commercialized and modernized; if so, we can become self-sustained in many things. National workers should be preferred in all works. An extensive orientation on commercial mindset and employment generation is a must. Viable sectors like tourism, hydro, mining and others are to be explored deeply. Consumption of national products should be prioritized. Aggressive establishment of factories and industries will assist us to move ahead. Caring the globally growing demand, manufacturing houses for respective products should be ushered strongly. 

Territorially small countries are now undergoing some tangible changes in business mindset - from manufacturing to consultancy-based model. We ought to adopt the advanced notion of it. Much ambitious mega-business missions from neighboring nations (BRI from China and AAGC as well as NSTC from India) can ensure us an un-experimented connectivity. The government should infallibly work to reap maximum benefits from those. Every local level government should unleash due efforts to modify social nature into entrepreneurship to bring sound change in the front. 

Conducive atmosphere to bring back the people working in foreign land- with knowledge, learning and skills learnt there - will contribute capaciously. China’s very policy of 1990 made her an emerging power. To imagine a prosperous economy, adequately hooking on mass exodus and igniting some constructive actions to engage youths at home is a must. Otherwise, the ballooning graph of remittances continues remitting evidently dismal cum diminishing welfare and gross decay of the nation as whole.  


Leave A Comment