Nepali youths, from home and abroad, are sustaining our economy. Their contribution should be well recognized and further opportunities for them should be created for the future
Nepali youths make up for 40.3 percent of Nepal’s total population. Thus we can say we are in an era of youth bulge, which is known as golden era for any nation. It was during similar youth bulge that Japan grew up and China stood up.
Nepali youths have remained important part of Nepal’s socio-political change. During 1950’s political movement to that of 1990’s to 2007’s, these youths stirred national consciousness. Besides, they have also contributed to boosting Nepali economy. Youths are directly contributing to our economy through remittance. Nepal received remittance worth Rs 699 billion in 2016/17, which makes for around one-fifth of entire GDP. Be it from Qatar, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE or Korea, the remittance they have been sending has sustained our economy. Remittances provide important avenue of foreign currency, help in boosting national income, finance imports and contribute in balance of payments too. They have given much-needed lifeline to our economy during financial crisis or during natural calamities. Their remittance has been contributing in increment of standard of living, education, health and real estate business.
When these youths return, they bring along with them skills and capital. Talk to drivers in Birtamode or Taplejung, they will say they had been abroad for pretty long time. But after they returned they bought taxis and started driving them.
Nepali economy is also maintained by youths residing in Nepal. There are youths in Nepal Army, health, banking, education and technical sectors. They have been generating revenues for Nepal. From Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty, income tax, custom duty and other taxes, they have all been contributing around 3-5 percent of GDP ratio. Youths have been contributing in billions of rupees through tax on income, profit and capital gains. The income tax that these workforces have been contributing makes for five percent of total GDP, on an average.
Nepali youths have set remarkable example during crisis times. From car pool during blockade to various relief works during the massive quake, they have helped as much from their side. Look at road, bridge, house construction and hydro power project sites, you will see the youths. They are involved in entrepreneurship development as well. They have not only created their future but also shaped future of various others by creating job opportunities and generating revenue for the government.
In a youthful nation, youths are the consumers. Being a youthful nation, it is obvious that youthful product and service will prevail in Nepal. Youths are in fast-food restaurant and clothing stores. These youths have been contributing to Nepali market one way or the other. From purchasing data packs to travelling they are the buyers who have been unknowingly contributing to the market economy.
Meanwhile, youths have been contributing pretty much in rural economy through their domestic efforts. They are the ones who are actively involved in agriculture producing rice, maize, paddy, pulses and wide range of vegetables. Young women have contributed to household economies.
But there are challenges Nepali youths are facing. Drug addiction is still not out of trend. Youths easily get manipulated by others and there exists a real huge gap between urban and rural youths. This gap has to be narrowed down.
The trend of international migration will ultimately affect the nation. Youths flying to third world nations like Australia or United States are less likely to return and contribute to economy. The knowledge that they gain is likely to be opportunity loss for Nepal. There remains the challenge in regard to remittance too. Remittance is not a long term solution. After a decade, when the infrastructural development works of Gulf nation reaches to maturity these youths are likely to be displaced. As a result, they will be bound to return. Although, they will have skill, in lack of job opportunities, those skills will be meaningless.
We are a youthful nation at the moment but two decades later situation might be different. It is youth, who will have to gear up and retain the economy. Their contribution and role has to be recognized and further opportunities for them should be created for upcoming days. The spirit and energy that youth own is something that can never be gathered later. It is therefore necessary that the role of youths should be properly recognized. They can take the country to the era of prosperity.
The author is a banker. Views expressed are all personal