Youths call for transparent use of workers’ welfare fundResponding to various news reports regarding rampant misuse of Migrant Worker’s Welfare Fund, various youth associations have demanded clarification
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
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.”
Nepal-M’sia labour pact sought
RAM CHANDRA GIRI (MALAYSIA)
Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia have asked a visiting Nepali delegation led by lawmaker Prabhu Sah to hasten the process of signing a labour agreement between the two countries. Despite efforts since 2007, the two countries are yet to sign such agreement.
In an interaction in Malaysia, representatives of various organisations of Nepali migrants told the Nepali delegation that thousands of workers are compelled to face various problems, including the growing number of deaths and accidents, overwork and low pay, defects in workers’ medical reports, unmanaged accommodation facilities and insecurity. They said many of these problems could be resolved if a labour agreement was signed.
They migrant workers said they have also been facing difficulties in getting prompt service from the understaffed and resource-crunched Nepali Embassy. In response, Sah said the delegation will forward the workers’ grievances to the concerned ministries and urge them to address the issues as soon as possible.
Speakers in the interaction also criticised Nepali bureaucrats and leaders, saying that they always listen to workers’ grievances but never initiate reforms measures.
The delegation, which comprises lawmakers and government officials, was criticised in Nepal for using money from the Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund to cover travel expenses and allowances.