It has been nearly a decade since the establishment of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA). What are its current agenda?
We haven’t left the dual citizenship agenda that we have been raising from the beginning. Many of our agenda regarding foreign employment have been addressed and a few are still in the process of being addressed. Our agenda regarding investment has been addressed by the 2064 NRN act. However, time has come to modify the act. Meanwhile, we will always fight with the slogan “Once a Nepali, always a Nepali” for the citizenship.
People have been saying that NRNs have not been able to invest in the country as expected. What do you have to say on this?
NRNs have invested in Nepalese tourism, education, hydroelectricity, among others, from the very beginning. We have gone abroad for only 15-20 years and are established there, but still we are not in that strong position to bring in huge investments. Like India and Pakistan, we do not have Non-Resident citizens who are well established abroad over 4-5 generations. The ratio of investment in Nepal and the success achieved by Nepalis abroad is not that much wider and we cannot say that it is so less.
Not only investment, people also expected the NRNs to bring new technologies in the nation. Are people wrong to have such expectations from the people who are successful abroad?
We have given it the top priority. We believe that the money and skills earned by NRNs abroad can help bring social transformation in the country and many are working in Nepal with such beliefs. In the regional NRN meeting held in Australia around a month back, the talks of opening an open university took an advanced course. We have formed a committee for infrastructure development. There are many other such examples.
How much valid are the government’s expectations to attract foreign direct investment with the help of NRNs?
Foreign direct investment is not that simple compared to investment from NRNs. We are the first generation NRNs; we are emotionally attached to Nepal by birth as well. Others will seek profit for investment, but we do not only look after profit. Multinational companies search nations where there is low risk and high return. It’s not that we haven’t brought any foreign investment. In hydroelectricity sector, we have brought in investment. According to investors, the complexities in labor issues are much more severe problems here rather than the political instability.
Where has the 100-MV hydroelectricity project reached?
We have not made that big a commitment. We have announced 100 MV project after analyzing our current status. At first we wanted to start only a single project, but after discussing further, we decided to invest in medium projects in many places so that people from those places will have emotional attachment with the projects. NRNs are positive about collective investment projects.
(Extract of the interview published in Karobar Daily)