Nepal Embassy in Australia Interact with ANJA Team

Australian Nepalese Journalists Association (ANJA) was invited for an interactive session at the residence of the ambassador of Nepal located in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberr
Australian Nepalese Journalists Association (ANJA) was invited for an interactive session at the residence of the ambassador of Nepal located in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra

Canberra – Australian Nepalese Journalists Association (ANJA) was invited for an interactive session at the residence of the ambassador of Nepal located in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra. The Australian-based Nepalese journalists exchanged their views, opinions, and information with H.E. Mr. Kailash Raj Pokharel, the newly appointed Ambassador of Nepal to Australia at a face-to-face interactive session. Discussions were held about the matters to be placed on the administrative agenda, ongoing programs, and updates done by the Embassy on its services, etc.

The team of journalists, led by the Australian Nepalese Journalists Association (ANJA) President Rishi Acharya, included the founder ANJA President and current patron Hemanta Kafle, Raju Manandhar, Madhav Gairhe, Prakash Humagain, Ganesh Bhatta, Pradeep Timilsina Madan Mani Adhikari, Takdir Adhikari, Suresh Regmi and Deepak Bhatta. The journalists drew the attention of the ambassador to the problems faced by the Nepalese international students regarding their passports, and the way some hundi traders have exploited them because of the lack of an easy medium to send their remittance to Nepal. They also asked him to share information with them about what progress was being made toward the direct flight between Nepal and Australia and shed light on the update on the construction of the Nepalese Embassy in Canberra. They also expressed concern that there has been a decrease in Australian funding for Nepal AUSAID scholarships. They also discussed activating the Nepal-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group. The journalists emphatically requested the embassy to take an active initiative to address these matters.

The journalists shared with the ambassador that Nepalese international students bring millions of dollars in hard currency legally to Australia, and about 3 billion dollars are sent to Nepal in remittance through Hundi which is not officially recorded in the revenue of the country, and it results in massive trading loss of Nepal.

The money exchange taking place outside the proper banking channels in the subcontinent is illegal and those people who are involved in such unlawful activities are liable to severe punishment. Sending the money through the Hundi process is illegal and it is motivated to evade revenue to the government. The people making good efforts to send money to Nepal through the formal channel are worthy of thanks, respect, and appreciation.

Huge amounts of black money from Nepalese are deposited in Australia which is a big loss to Nepal. This may not reflect well on Nepal’s relationship with Australia. The embassy can serve as a facilitator to develop a mechanism and make the national conception to deal with this corrupt practice. Under the leadership of the central bank, we can take the illegally deposited money in Australia back to Nepal which will contribute to the financial growth of Nepal. This way the embassy can play some role to stop the flow of black money into undeclared bank accounts in Australia.

H.E. Mr. Kailash Raj Pokharel addressed the concerns raised by the media representatives. He said that the embassy is very eager to work hard to launch an initiative to tackle these problems timely and efficiently. Our community’s interests and challenges are on the embassy’s high agenda, and it is creating suitable opportunities for the Nepalese community living in Australia. The embassy will collaborate with the Nepalese consular offices and community organisations in these regards. He said that as the journalists have different information, visions, and suggestions to improve the existing services delivered by the embassy for the overall welfare of the Nepalese community living in Australia, he has organized this meeting with ANJA.

He admired the way the constructive and positive social activities received media attention is very encouraging. Thanks are due to the community-spirited journalists. The team of journalists highlighted the community concerns and requested to take the active initiative to resolve the longstanding problems and some foreseeable problems. As the numbers of Nepalese are surging, it is natural that there tend to be more problems.

He shared what he achieved in two months after he held office in Canberra. The embassy has recently introduced the EFTPOS machine and the websites are updated and digitally much improved.

Mr. Kailash Raj Pokharel said, “It is unfortunate and worrying that the remittance is sent through the wrong channels. I am making efforts to convince the students on social networking sites with emotional appeal. I appreciate that the community organisations and our media are working hard in this direction. I would like to request they make this campaign more effective and work collectively to achieve our common goals. I have spoken to Nepalese entrepreneurs in education that whatever quality works with good intentions done by them should be lasting and respectable. The embassy is committed to working with the community to tackle such serious problems.”

Nepalese communities living in Australia are helping Nepal’s economy by sending remittances back home, but it is not recorded officially, and we have not been duly acknowledged for our contributions.

He added, “We should collectively make the students aware of the consequences of sending remittances to their family in Nepal via hundi. At the same time, we need to facilitate the sending of the remittance to Nepal. We are making efforts to make commercial banks open dollar accounts. Nepalese banks are planning to operate Nostro accounts for facilitating the easy clearing of their transactions. We are taking initiative to construct our own embassy building in Canberra soon and start a direct flight between Nepal and Australia.”

It has been inconvenient and time-consuming for the customers to come to Canberra for the e-passport. So, for the purpose of biometric information of the customers, the embassy is starting the local camps in Hobart, Brisbane, and Perth in the near future.

He added, “Through the digital techniques and digital transformation the services offered by the embassy will be made more accessible and customer friendly. The second meeting of the Bilateral Consultations Mechanism (BCM) between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia was concluded in Canberra recently. Nepal and Australia have recently signed MOU on Cooperation on Water Resource Management under which Australia will provide support on capacity development and training technical assistance in water resource management among others.”

Also present on the occasion were the consular staff Mr. Kul B Magar and Mrs. Basudha Nepal Pokharel.

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