We are eager to develop Nepal in our time: NRNA President Panta
Shyam Rimal, KATHMANDU: Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) President Kumar Panta said they are dedicated to scaling up investment in Nepal and creating job opportunities thus supporting the government realise its vision of building a prosperous Nepal.
During his talks with the National News Agency (RSS) on Tuesday, the NRNA President was of the view that the government should utilise the broad network of the Association in its development endevours to make the country prosperous.
“The NRNA is a huge forum and is completely a social organisation. Nepal is expected to use this forum for its causes. We spend personal accounts for the causes of Nepal and Nepali. We are not doing all these not just for name sake,” he said.
He took time to share about the NRNA plan of organising the Second Knowledge, Skills and Technology Conference in the Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel in coming October. The event will be supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Planning Commission.
As he said, the NRNA has already discussed with the Ministry and Commission on the issue of implementation of a White Paper issued by the first Conference held here last year.
He went on to say the NRNA was focused on creating a conducive atmosphere for passing knowledge, skills, technology and capital achieves by the NRNS onto Nepal and increasing the investment here.
According to him, the Lamjung-based Dordikhola Hydropower Project initiated by a group of some one thousand NRNs is likely to be completed by the next two months. Another big project on a joint venture of the government and NRNA is in the offing.
The NRNA will not investment in any project separately, it will do a coordinating role to make the investment sure, creating a favorable atmosphere towards that end. “The NRNs have created jobs for many through the investments in numerous hospitals, banks, hotels and hydropower in Nepal.”
Preparations are on to establish a mutual fund of Rs 10 billion in partnership with the government which as he said would have its five percent stake.
As he said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seemed positive towards that end.
According to him, the Association has formed a separate Special Committee to support the Nepal Visit Nepal 2020 and several programmes of international level which include promotional events, seminars, assemblies and celebrations are on its regular schedule targeting the Year.
He took time to make it clear that the recent Visit Nepal Year promotional in Australia was a preplanned and it had a good support from the civic and government level there to make it successful. Though it was organised amidst the massive bushfire there, it had not given that much of a negative message.
A separate department functions under the NRNA for the promotion of Nepali language, culture and art, according to him. Every NRNA chapters have planned to have a separate committee to transfer the knowledge about Nepal art, culture and language to the second generation.
There are schools which run the Nepali language classes where the density of Nepal is high. Food and street festivals featuring Nepali art and culture are taking place in several countries to inform international communities that Nepal is highly rich in art and culture.
Discussions on BIPPA
Discussions with the Nepal government on the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) were underway and Nepal was positive about it, he said.
Stating that of 7 million Nepalis in foreign countries (except neighbouring India), more than a half are toiling in Gulf countries, he said the NRNA has been helping the Nepali migrant workers in foreign countries facing various problems.
He demanded allocation of two poisa to be spent for the welfare of the migrant workers of 26 to 30 poisa in premium provided to Nepal’s banks by the Nepal Rastra Bank to discourage Hundi.
On politics inside the NRNA, he said, “Nepalis in foreign countries have not undergone transformation. It is unfortunate to politicise the NRNA. When I was NRNA’s General Secretary, I personally urged leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Jhala Nath Khanal and Sushil Koirala not to politicise the NRNA. But they were active when NRNA’s elections were around the corner. Office bearers of the NRNA approached the leaders then and asked them to support election candidates close to them. Now NRNA’s elections will not take place in a bid to stop such practices.”
The NRNA in coordination with Nepal’s embassies in foreign countries and as unofficial representatives of the Government of Nepal was at work to urge foreign investment in Nepal and spread the message of the Visit Nepal Year 2020, he said.
On voting rights to NRNs
Welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision in favour of providing voting rights to the non-resident Nepalis as well, he said they have been discussing with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Election Commission regarding the practicality of the voting right. He said there is the possibility of on-line voting or by keeping a voting booth at some place since the voting would not be possible in all places.
According to him, as per the current practice a person should have lived in a foreign country for two years to get the NRN status. However, this condition is not applicable to the Nepali students and employees of the embassy and diplomatic missions. But the Association is demanding that Nepalis residing in countries which consider the persons domiciled for six months as tax-payers also be recognized as NRNs.
He shared that NRNA is constructing four advanced toilets at main cross roads of Kathmandu – Kalanki, Chabahil, Maharajgunj and Koteshwor – as most of the existing toilets in Kathmandu were found to be stinking and without water.
Stating that discussions have been held from time to time within NRNA regarding publicizing the unique Nepali trade and businesses run by the Nepalis in foreign land, experience sharing and connecting knowledge and capital, the NRNA president said collection of data would be started on the enterprises run by Nepalis in foreign countries and those operated by NRNAs in Nepal.
As he said, there are over 100 thousand enterprises run by Nepalis in foreign countries at present. These include hotels, restaurants, IT firms as well as medical and engineering sector. These businesses are employing hundreds of thousands of people.
He has come Nepal in connection with holding discussions on the election process of the Association, its statute, allocation of responsibilities and various committees. The NRNA president also said that a special convention would be organised for passing the organisational report and the statute.
“One can love his/her motherland whichever country one lives in or holds the passport of whichever country. We have been encouraging the Nepalis to invest and live in Nepal. It is our common dream to make Nepal prosperous. There are few countries as beautiful as Nepal with its mountains, hills and the Tarai plains. We are very eager to make Nepal prosperous and developed within our lifetime. We are inspired to utilise and hand over the capital, knowledge, skills and technology for the economic prosperity of Nepal alone,” he asserted. RSS