Living Nepal’s worst crisis indeed makes the heart aching for the great people of this nation. Gabriele message below described the situation. Now time for us to meet this challenge as concerned global citizens and build a true sense of community to provide solutions.
As someone working on social policy issues, I see the importance of remittances and what it can do in the recovery.
To give abackground on remittance and why I strongly believe it is the most important mechanism for Nepal at this stage to rebuild and allow households to restore their livelihood, please note these facts on Nepal:
- Large number of Nepalis work outside the nation: 2.2 million Nepalis, which is about 7-8 % of Nepal population, live abroad
- They are bringing in about 7 billion USD (almost 30 percent of GDP) in the country in normal years. To put in context, this is about 10 times more than all total grants from foreign governments and international organization according to the national budget speech 2015.
- The country went through a 10 year civil war. While that was certainly a constraint on economic activities, It did not collapse in terms of the economic growth. We can argue on many reasons, but I believe it was largely due to remittances
Against this background, what will pick up the country is its hard working people bringing in such large remittances. The main challenge is how we can facilitate movement of transfer in the country with close-to-zero-cost, effortless, and timely. This is my top priority now and initial results are showing off.
Second important mechanism for us to mobilize support for is social protection. We need to push more than ever for the global community to mobilize resources for social protection floor. There is no better country to start with than Nepal. Nepal has done a great deal in this area already, let me highlight few:
- Allocation to social protection is high in Nepal: its projected to reach to 2.67 percent of GDP this fiscal year. This is higher than regional average of 2.4 percent of GDP.
- Its system of social protection is mostly based on universality and social inclusion.
- It is tax financed. The tax base is comfortable (tax/GDP ratio is 17.2 % compared with only 9 % for South Asia average). National debt is also low standing at 29.7 % of GDP.
- There is political commitment showed at all levels.
I am writing under difficult conditions. We are working hard to respond to this. Let us show support and sense of community in this difficult situation. Let us show the nation of Nepal that we do care and we will do what we can or even what we cannot.
Amjad Rabi | Chief Social Policy and Economic Analysis | UNICEF Nepal Country Office | Cell: 977-9851107906