Reporters Club Event: “I clearly remember the day of the declaration when the United States Congress passed the Millennium Challenge Corporation plan,” said Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat former Finance Minister and senior leader of the main opposition Nepali Congress Party (NC). Speaking at a special interaction program regarding the issue of MCC and its acceptance by the Government of Nepal (GoN) at the Reporters Club, Dr. Mahat clarified that the MCC had nothing to do with the Indo-Pacific strategy.
“The MCC was established to eradicate poverty for those eligible nations fulfilling a set of criteria. Economically weaker nations who fulfilled certain criterions of human rights, political rights, citizenship rights, and democratization in administration along with a responsible government were given the opportunity to apply for the MCC aid from the government of the United States”.
“Nepal applied through an open competition of over 80 other developing nations, while numerous other nations have benefitted from the MCC aid in the previous years. Our score for the compact agreement was extremely high and we were one of the top nations on the list”.
“It was under my Ministry that the office of the MCC opened in Nepal. Back in 2015, we had an agreement, and a detailed project study was carried out by the agency. In 2017 after a conclusive and detailed study, it showed that Nepal could develop rapidly in the areas of Hydropower, Energy, and Transportation. A 318 KV transmission line will be set up from Butwal to Gorakhpur of India. We have had a separate agreement with India to this regard and there is no question of controversy”.
“There is a baseless rumor that MCC is a part of the Indo-Pacific strategy which is misinformation. There is no military alliance of any sort. The intention of the MCC is purely related to the development aspect and poverty reduction. It wants the Nation receiving the aid to transform the lives of people. It is a program where there are strict regulations, financial planning, and inclusiveness”.
“The MCC only has a developmental side to it. It has kept in mind inclusivity, gender equality, and environment protection. These were criterions that we fulfilled as a nation while applying for the aid. It has a specified term of 5 years and has no relationship with the IPS. There are no terms and conditions or clause that goes against our national interest or mentions any military alliance. We are a non-aligned nation and this is not in our policy. We will work for our national interest, and not go against any third nation, we never have, and never will go against any third nation or make any agreement of sort”
“The grant amount that was decided was between United States Dollar (USD) 300-700 million. This aid will be utilized for the purpose of hydropower, energy, and the transportation sector which will enable Nepal to have that financial growth that it needs”
Dr. Mahat has requested to GoN to act swiftly in this matter in order to formalize the agreement and begin the process of receiving the aid. He said “the purpose of the MCC is to raise the standard of living of the people. I request the GoN to pass this, as I personally know there is nothing in the MCC that is against our national interest. We have worked hard for this and fulfilled all the criterions set by the US in order to receive the aid. This is not against our national interest, it is for the financial prosperity of the country, and it will develop and reduce poverty in the country”.