Responding to various news reports regarding rampant misuse of Migrant Worker’s Welfare Fund, various youth associations have demanded clarification on the matter from the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB). The Association of Youth Organisations Nepal (AYON) and the Youth Connection Centre submitted a written request to Nirmala Thapa, director at the FEPB Secretariat, on Wednesday seeking details of expenses from the Fund. The move was followed by youth activists’ demonstrations in front of the FEPB Secretariat in Anamnagar demanding transparency regarding expenses from the Fund.
News reports in various national dailies claimed that about Rs 3 million from the Fund meant for the benefits of outbound migrant workers was spent on purchasing cars for Nepali ambassadors, arranging foreign trips for Labour Ministry officials, and office decorations. Receiving the written request from AYON President Brabim Kumar KC, Thapa said the expenses were normal. “The cars for embassies were essential and will be used in the context of welfare for migrant workers,” she said. Regarding foreign trips of officials, Thapa said they have to go to the destination countries to understand workers’ conditions.
According to the Foreign Employment Act, 2007, Rs 1,000 deposited by every outbound migrant worker to the Fund shall be used for “training of migrant workers, providing education and health services to their children, paying compensation to the injured and deceased workers and evacuating them during crises.” In the case of the fund used for decorating the office of FEPB Chairman and State Minister for Labour Tek Bahadur Gurung, Thapa said “only” Rs 82,000 was spent for the purpose and it “should not create much fuss”.
Prakash Chandra Adhikari, a student, said the misuse of the workers’ fund should be treated as corruption. KC said the demonstration was a symbolic campaign carried out on behalf of millions of youths currently working abroad. “Every day, five bodies arrive in Nepal and about 20 youths return with injuries or disease, which do not bother authorities," he said, adding, "Instead, they misuse the fund without shame.”
|Violent / Non-violent||Nonviolent|
|Primary Cause||Issues related to the quality of public services (health, education etc.)and access to these services|
|Actor 1 - Number of people||n/a|
|Actor 1 - Affiliations||Government and civil servants at central level|
|Actor 1 - Youth||na|
|Actor 2 - Number of people||n/a|
|Actor 2 - Affiliation (Target)||Citizen/Individuals|
|Actor 2 - Youth||na|