The 5th global conference of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) recently concluded in Kathmandu where Non-Resident Nepalis from 57 countries participated. Jiba Lamichhane was unanimously elected as the new president of the global body of the Nepali Diaspora after Devman Hirachan withdrew his candidacy at the dying hours after his gloomy tenure.
Like all other preceding presidents of the NRNA, newly elected president Jiba Lamichhane reiterated the same rhetoric-- to bring collective foreign investment in Nepal. But, he faces a more difficult challenge than his predecessors.
Jiba is elected president at a time when the citizens of the country have given up hopes that NRN’s (Non Residential Nepali) will do anything significant for the country. NRNs identity is in peril and they have become a subject of mockery and criticism for the common Nepalis.
The criticisms faced by the NRNS are not all unjust. NRNA is in its ninth year but it is difficult to point out any substantial contribution made by it for Nepal, let alone the talks of bringing big investments. Rather than bringing investments into the country, they have shockingly asked and received money (30 lakhs) from the government for their conference.
The Non Resident Indians (NRIs) have made significant contributions for the economic growth of India but the same cannot be said about the NRNs.
Even the finance minister, Barsha Man Pun, was quick to criticize them. “NRNs regularly promised they will make a collective investment in the country, but this has not happened. We haven´t seen any of the significant investment projects from NRNs,” he said.
The only thing NRNs have done till now is come to Nepal every two years to take part in a global conference, talk the need of dual citizenship, talk big things and hibernate till the next conference.
Prime minister, Dr. Baburam Bhattrai, dismissed the chance of giving NRNs dual citizenship. “We are issuing special ID cards to NRNs and have helped in all possible ways to welcome their investment here. NRNs should not set dual citizenship as their precondition for investing in Nepal,” said the Prime Minister.
It’s still unclear why they need the dual citizenship to invest in Nepal as the government has given them full assurances to support them in any needed way and they are also provided with an identity card to prove their identity.
NRNs need to do something spectacular very soon if they want to regain the support and confidence of the Nepali citizens.
The finance minister has made the task easy for the NRNs to invest in Nepal as he stated NRNs won’t need to show any income source if they invested in five areas: hydropower, roads, bridges, tunnels and airports and can team up with fellow NRNs or even foreigners.
The government has backed NRNs time and again and has again showed faith in them despite their futile words and promises, now is the time for Non-Residential Nepalis to show their commitment towards their native land and win hearts of people back.
By Debesh Adhikari