January 17, 2020 - A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to discuss how leveraging remittances can transform the economy in Nepal.
The event attracted 43 attendees, including representatives of government ministries, public and private institutions, NGOs and the media.
The team presented findings and recommendations from their PEP study on whether out-migration and remittances induce shifts to non-farm entrepreneurship among the left-behind in Nepal, selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2017. See PEP Policy Brief 203 for findings and policy implications.
The researchers explained that people receiving remittances from migrant family members work fewer hours and demand higher pay than those not receiving remittances. This is linked to a decrease in gross revenues for household-operated enterprises.
The team called for policymakers to channel remittances to productive uses through multi-sectoral efforts.
The Joint-Secretary for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies said the Ministry’s Micro Enterprise Development for Poverty Alleviation project would need to look at how to support micro-entrepreneurs, beyond helping set up the businesses. “Policies are needed to incentivize micro-entrepreneurs—who tend to be risk-averse—towards a growth model,” he said. Facilitating entrepreneurs’ access to credit and insurance could be relevant.
The Executive Director of Nepal Rastra Bank said that orientation programs on financial and investment literacy should be mandatory for migrant workers before they leave Nepal. These measures would allow migrants to map out their future finances with their family members.
The Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission said that the Commission would investigate the issue so that these suggestions could be included in their plan document.
Eight journalists attended the event, including representatives of the Himalayan Times (English-language daily newspaper), News24 (Nepali 24-hour news television channel) and Kantipur TV (Nepali television channel) who reported from the event.
The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP. The conference was hosted by the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAW- TEE) at the Hotel Himalaya.