Tag Archives: economy

How do we serve our very own 5 Billion dollar investors in Nepal?

We get  more than 5 billion US dollars (was 3.5 billion dollars in 2011) from remittance. Compare this with only US $500 million or so of investment from foreigners. Yet we treat this noble group like third class humans.  

यहि लेख नेपालीमा पढ्नुहोस

“A Nepali returns from Arab for a month to finally meet his family after two long years, He arrives at our Tribhuvan International Airport at night, where he is first put on a long line of Nepali, interrogated by officials. The customs officer scans through his bags like a vulture looking for an excuse to exhort on the gifts bought for his family. Mentally drained, he finally comes out. The taxis outside are waiting for him. They demand, “Give us Rs 1500 to go to Gongabu (bus station).” This is more than what he spends on the bus ride from Kathmandu to his village. He sighs and pays up. After only 3 weeks with his family, he is forced to run to Kathmandu to get a new passport. He waits out in long lines, in heat, pollution and stench. On his way back to Arab, they humiliate him again at the airport. As he boards the plane, he breathes a sigh of relief. He won’t be back for another two years.”

Is this how you treat a community that invests more than 5 billion US dollars into the Nepali economy?

So how could we serve this group well, and make this a win-win?

Here’s a start.

  1. • Lets start with the government – remove regulations. Demand insurance from manpower (staffing) agencies so all Nepali who work abroad have insurance to protect them. At the foreign ministry, make a special fast track application process. Handle all their official works within half a day. Enable getting passport from districts easier. Make a special VIP line at our airport exclusively for them. Make them feel they are the reasons our country isn’t bankrupt. Show pre-departure videos on what life will be like outside Nepal, what their rights and responsibilities are. Teach them how to contact the nearest embassy or consulate.
  2. • Work to change your officials habits to deal with them like they do with “kuhires.” Work with a private company with excellent customer service credentials to offer reliable, direct transportation from Kathmandu Airport to other major towns.
  3. • Manpower companies, start providing cheap, affordable insurance for every worker you send abroad. Offer it in installments. You can surely make a profit by the volume.
  4. • Social workers, connect their families with skills like sewing, knitting, running a small shop etc. Do recommend them on ways to protect the money sent home. Wasting it on a big LCD television in 14 hour electricity free Nepal is not ideal, is it?
  5. • Entrepreneurs, interact more with this group. Understand through them, their families problems. Then build an opportunity to fix their common pain.
  6. For our financial institutions, prioritize their families. Advise them on investments and entrepreneurial opportunities through your institution. These are safe earners who send money back regularly – many of them probably through your bank. Maybe even offer high interest bond instruments for them to buy, that yields in 5 years. You have an enviable opportunity here. Look towards using their ideas in Nepali industries to improve efficiency, safety and quality. Remember these Nepali are building the next generation World Cup stadiums in Qatar by 2020.

Ultimately, this becomes a win-win for all.

“Imagine the same humiliated Nepali returning home in 2 years.

He walks out of the airport and goes through a fast-track service to process his paperwork. He is warmly thanked by this welcoming official, wishes him a happy stay with his family and is directed to a counter inside the airport to buy a ticket to go home to his town. He is escorted to a direct express bus outside the airport that is taking him and 50 others like him. He directly goes home without the hassles of Kathmandu and spends time with his family. To renew his passport, he goes to his local office and gets a new passport in 1 hour.

He is happy to be back home. With the money he was sending home and installment he was paying, he now has a better house, his wife runs a small store through a loan from the bank she went to get remittance money. With the savings this man was making with the bank, he now has a high interest bond that will yield high returns starting next year. With this money and his new-found skills in the Arab world, the man wonders whether he has to return back to the 50 degree heat in Arab. He wonders – with a good house, working wife, money in the bank and my new-found skills – maybe I can start a small factory here in Nepal! ”

Only when we learn to treat our own (5+ billion rupees investing customer) with dignity, will the world will invest in Nepal. How we treat our remittance workers tells them how we treat other “investors”. If they don’t like what they see, they will invest their money somewhere where people respect “investors”.

instructions to get passports infront of the Foreign Ministry

Thank you to these friends, who inspired and helped me write this: Prasanna Dhungel, Ashutosh Tiwari, Sagar Onta, Bijaya Shiwakoti, Sanjib Subba, Bal Joshi.

यहि लेख नेपालीमा पढ्नुहोस
Was published in myrepublica April 6, 2011 & नेपालीमा यहि लेख र प्रतिक्रियाहरु in mysansar.com

Few good things happening in Nepal

Lately amid all the gloom and pessimism, haven’t been thinking of much of good things happening in Kathmandu (not Nepal, just Kathmandu)

I have absolutely no idea how people’s life is faring in the rest of the country since very rarely the media, the politicians , you or me  care about them : I admit my guilt here).

so here is a positive thing that i am seeing from up-close (and contributing in some of them).

1) “West Seti Hydro is still trying to build a 750 MW hydro-electric project in the remotest part of Nepal (shunned by rest of Nepal) despite the shit that are being thrown at them by greedy politicians, desperate locals, zealot NGO’s and depressed bureaucracy and “not many qualified manpower left now”. Its been nearly what 12 years now they are trying despite all odds.

2) “Entrepreneurs for Nepal” a young group of entrepreneurs, most of them returnees from USA have been meeting every month to help other young entrepreneurs in startup tips. (Here is the facebook group)

3) People like Bijaya Shiwakoti have been helping answer travelers questions that promotes traveling to Nepal (thus helping tourism regain its luster in Nepal). Website: exoticbuddha.com

4) Investment banks.  ( a bunch of banks are cropping up to give investments to building the infrastructures inside the country. despite the political status quo.

5) semi skilled manpower development: a lot of otherwise idle young, uneducated, clueless people are gaining good set of work skills needed for development of the country, by working abroad. A lot (by that i  mean lots) of my unskilled, uneducated cousins in village who were busy beating up each other because of petty politics now are working abroad and have learned variety of skills in automobile maintainance, iron industry, managing security, etc.

well hopefully more good things to note down for next time.

Entrepreneurs for Nepal ideas

here is something I posted on the Facebook group page of ” Entrepreneurs for Nepal” some time ago, and elaborated since here:

Random ideas that will jump-start our economic revolution. Some Immediate steps.

  • Have to recruit younger technocrats and remove the old ones from the National planning commission and finance and related ministries.
  • Set up YEL = Youth Entrepreneur’s league (new body with powerful access to private and state banks).
  • Zero % tax on hydro power Generation and tourism. (Logic: mass employment generation)
  • Information Technology Communication and related Licenses at no costs. (Talent generation and utilization)
  • Nepal = Zero Tax center for foreign investments for 10 years. (inward investment flow and job creation)
  • BOOT model (build own operate transfer in infrastructure development and creating jobs more than 100 people).
  • 10% flat tax on all things else ( ALL THINGS). This encourages tax payment which overwhelming majority of people /companies in the country strive to avoid, right now).
  • Permanent residence (or Nepal Citizenship, if you have guts) for people investing more than a million dollars in Nepal.

You want wonders.. better start revamping the place.
otherwise no more promises to make switzerland out of nepal.

If Maoists are smart, they will see how China is playing out, and act like them. Total Focus on Economy. Their politics survives on the economic revolution Now.

otherwise we can only hope for a 2 % growth again and again (which will be eaten up the huge double digit inflation). 15 years ago, I ate Samosas at 3 rupees each at Tiptop. Now it is 16 rupees each.

Be prepared for another change…or one big repression after another !