KATHMANDU, Jan 17: Nepal has long been known as a remittance-based economy. Had migrant workers employed in Gulf countries and Malaysia, among others, not sent money to the country, the domestic economy would have collapsed long ago, so goes the saying by the country´s renowned economists.
But what is little known is that foreigners working in Nepal are also sending money abroad. And the size of funds that they are remitting home is increasing day by day.
In the first five months of the current fiscal year, foreigners working in Nepal sent Rs 3.13 billion abroad, the latest Nepal Rastra Bank report shows.
Of course, the amount that exited Nepal in the five-month period to mid-December pales in front of Rs 163.49 billion that the country received in forms of remittance from those working abroad. But what is noteworthy is the continuous rise in volume of amount that is leaving the country.
In the first five months of 2010/11, for instance, only Rs 1.33 billion left the country. In the same period last fiscal year, Rs 1.72 billion exited the country. But the figure recorded in the five-month period of this fiscal year marks a hike of 81.6 percent than in the same period last year.
The amount that exited Nepal in the review period is almost similar in size to Rs 3.29 billion that left the country throughout 2010/11 and almost 62 percent of Rs 5.03 billion remitted in the whole of 2011/12.
Since the figure compiled by the central bank does not include amount taken home by seasonal migrant workers -- like those coming in from bordering Indian states -- it is believed a lot more funds may have left the country during the period.
The Department of Labor estimates more than 20,000 foreigners to be working in Nepal of which around 8,000 have been absorbed by the private sector.