Beware of foreign money

Published On: December 2, 2018 01:00 AM NPT By: Dr Sundar Mani Dixit

Dr Sundar Mani Dixit

Dr Sundar Mani Dixit

The contributor for Republica.

Funding intended to destroy our culture and religion comes cloaked in guise of conferences ostensibly for various humanitarian purposes

Nepal has been fortunate in having so many friends and benefactors around the world. For the country, small though, with wonderful natural resources and friendly people, it is but natural. We are friends to all and enemies to none. This has remained our guiding philosophy for long time.

When the 104 year old Rana regime ended in 1951, the first friend that came to our aid was India, which had also helped us achieve that independence. It became our greatest benefactor thereafter. After 1951, the US also began to support us through the USAID program. Their projects were centered mainly on scientific cultivation, irrigation and education. 

Since then, we have had several foreign governments directly funding our development or indirectly contributing to funding through various organizations. Nepal is indebted to all these world governments and INGOs for doing so much for us. But of late, some disturbing features are coming to the fore regarding the foreign aid.

People have begun to ask whether the concern shown by foreign countries toward our welfare is all really purely based on good-will. Is it all love and charity or are there some vested interests? 

Geopolitically Nepal is a sensitive country because it lies between two large economies of Asia—India and China, which are soon going to become global superpowers.  Entry of third party can have serious impacts on these two countries. 

Today we notice foreign money being poured into blatantly destabilizing activity—that could even tear apart our stabilizing social and religious fabric. They have tended to take advantage of Nepal’s backwardness and poverty and interfere in Nepal’s social and religious harmony, which is damaging unity, tolerance and friendship among people of different ethnic nationalities. This negative impact of foreign aid is now so obvious that one does not need any serious investigation to expose it. The “genocidal” and rapid religious conversions are going on unchecked with dollar funding. This is extremely serious and will ultimately change the very politics, alignments of our nation, our relations with neighbors and the world at large.

Nepal receives huge aids and loans. If loans of the past 60 years are to be divided among people, every Nepali has already had a large burden on him/her. How will s/he repay this loan? 

Where’s the money?

We hear of our government ministers signing foreign loan deal, with pride. But our governments have no plans on the future mechanisms to repay those loans. As a result, we are being burdened with more and more loans every single day and becoming increasingly more indebted to foreign countries. Where then goes our national pride? In fact where goes all the money that we are said to have received? We don’t see it effectively reaching to the lowest rung of people or spent for development. 

Those in power who sign these loan deals get personally richer but the country and rest of the people get poorer.

It could also be that since we are getting loans and assistance from foreigners with ease, the hard earned money of us tax payers and that coming from our hard-working brothers and sisters abroad is being diverted to personal use by our leaders. Or they are misusing the 

easy-come finances from foreign countries for helicopter entertainment trips, foreign junkets and expensive non-essential purchases—such as proposed bullet-proof cars for the president or construction of luxurious official residential homes for VIPs or even the plethora of wining and dining parties and receptions now increasingly given by our leaders in power, under various pretexts for their cronies and allies. This is where the money—both provided by the foreign countries as well as contributed by the tax payers—should not go.

For these expenses are now no longer in the thousands but in hundreds of thousands and millions of rupees. 

Another disturbing argument against foreign aid is: Are these funds making us and our country weak? Have we now become individually and as a nation so used to being spoon-fed that we have no longer the passion for hard work? We as a nation once were known as the hard working land of “brave Gurkhas.” Where is that hard work now?

Have we now come to enjoy material wealth and finances from foreigners to the extent that we lazily sit back and enjoy the largesse of our benefactors and lose our energy for nation building? This ‘easy come easy spend’ wealth could also lead to ‘easy handover’ of our nation to the foreign powers.

Fear of debt

The fear of debt burden looms large. Rich nations easily prey on the unsuspecting and vulnerable countries by flooding their money which while providing immediate apparent benefits to those countries ultimately lead to their ruin through un-repayable debts. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zambia and other African nations have faced this situation. There are reports that citizens in some countries have started retaliating against loans and debts. 

Malaysia just escaped such a disaster with a non-corrupt and upright politician as head of government. Nepal, being what it is—replete with corrupt politicians (not all), corrupt bureaucracy and its impoverished masses—is definitely vulnerable to debt trap which could lead it and its innocent masses to become second and third class citizens in their own country. We could be knowingly or unwittingly selling our country to foreign power. Sri Lanka has been forced into this situation. Let’s learn lesson from it. 

The scenario is frightening. It is difficult to tell poor people to abstain from using and being glamorized by cheap foreign goods and to be careful of future consequences. It is even more difficult to advise the government which is often immune to the voice of citizens not to take more and more loans without proper homework for repayment.

No matter how corrupt, I believe our leaders care for the nation. Take my advice. Make sure you hold tight reins on the foreign money coming into the country in any guise. Otherwise, you will become the first but not the last victim of such ‘easy come, easy spend wealth.’ Also remember such money comes in the guise of foreign luxury trips for groups of politicians, parliamentarians, journalists, businessmen and bureaucrats just to influence them and serve donors’ interests.

Funding intended to destroy our culture and religion comes cloaked in guise of conferences ostensibly for various humanitarian purposes. But their ultimate aim can be to spread their religions and culture disturbing our ethnic unity and destroying our culture, traditions and religions.

Country like us needs to be alert.  Let’s be alert about saving our nationalities, local religions, cultures and the nation. We must act before it will be too late. Let us not become a piece of real estate to be purchased by the highest bidder.

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