MCC deal will be endorsed by winter session of parliament: Foreign Affairs Minister


Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 25 December 2019) – Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali has said the current winter session of the parliament shall endorse the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant assistance agreement with the US government as it is an agreement related to the economic development of Nepal.

Clarifying about the MCC agreement in the National Assembly, National Concerns and Coordination Committee meeting today, he said the then government led by the Nepali Congress had reached the agreement and as the government is an institution with unbroken inheritance rights there was no alternative to passing it even to enhance the credibility of the country’s image in the international sector.

Minister Gyawali also expressed the belief that the MCC would be passed by the parliament as all the national parties have no differences regarding it. A debate had started on this issue after questions were raised in the latest meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) standing committee that the MCC agreement should not be endorsed if it was linked to the Indo Pacific Strategy.

Stating that the incumbent government was alert and serious regarding issues of national interest and concern, he said, “Doubts have been cast (regarding the MCC) as the saying goes ‘once bitten, twice shy’, and nothing would be done in the agreement that will be against the national interests. This is an agreement related to assistance by the American government in projects for the infrastructure development.

Several conditions of the agreement are the topics which have to be considered at the time of its signing, they will not be changed now.” The Minister for Foreign Affairs believed that the United States of America providing this assistance following the successful peace process and achievement of political stability in Nepal would give the country benefit of positive message worth billions of rupees.

According to him, an independent and professional body has been set up in Nepal for the implementation of the MCC assistance and Nepal’s authorized entity could audit its account. A project worth 64 billion, including around 55 billion US assistance and the remaining Nepal’s investment, has been pursued with the objective of developing the physical infrastructure and expanding connectivity for eliminating poverty and backwardness in the Asia Pacific Region.

Under this project, a 400 kV electricity transmission line would be constructed from Nanglebhare of Kathmandu to Butwal via Ratmate of Nuwakot and Tanahu. Some road networks of strategic importance would also be expanded and repaired as part of this project. “MCC and IPS are different things. It is not necessary to relate them together. Development is the nation’s need. Doubts are cast when big development programmes are implemented here. Unwarranted debate creates doubts and confusions. Many issues are debated without properly understanding them. This kind of trend should be put to an end for prosperity and development,” the Minister for Foreign Affairs said.

In the meeting, committee president Dil Kumari Rawal (Thapa) opined that it has become easier for the lawmakers to understand about the MCC as the government has clarified on the issue now. Committee member Badri Prasad Pandey stressed that a country like Nepal should utilize the MCC assistance as America has agreed to it after developing countries struggled for it. He wondered why this brouhaha when almost all parties in the country seemed agreed on MCC. Pandey urged the government to establish that Nepal was not in the fold of any world power and it maintains equal relations with all.

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