MCC will be passed keeping national interest at center: Chair Dahal

MCC Nepal Compact

SURKHET, Feb 19: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact will be passed keeping national interest at the center, said Nepal Communist Party Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

As the ruling party remains sharply divided over the $500 million US grant agreement, a taskforce comprising of senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and standing committee member Bhim Rawal are studying the agreement to recommend whether the MCC compact is a part of US military strategy.

“The task force’s report will be discussed in the party’s secretariat and the MCC will be endorsed in the parliament in a way it will not undermine national sovereignty, integrity and independence,” said Dahal while addressing a gathering of the Karnali state-level frontline cadres on Wednesday.

The task force, which was formed on Feb 2, on Feb 13 asked for a 10-day extension as the MCC awaits ratification in the parliament.

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli is also in favor of endorsing the MCC without further delay.

He has argued that the government, under the MCC, can complete major projects which would pave way for exporting electricity to India and other third countries.

However, he has yet to gain favor from leftist forces and a faction within his party, especially Bhim Rawal and Dev Gurung who are suspicious the bilateral pact could be a part of the Indo-pacific strategy although the US has clarified “there is no military component in the MCC Compact and is purely focused on economic development by helping to build power lines and improve roads”.

Under the project, the US government will provide a $500 million grant to Nepal– which includes electricity transmission project of $398,200,000, transportation project of $52,300,000, program administration of $40,000,000 and monitoring and evaluation of $9,500,000, while Nepal will invest $130 million to support the compact.

Since its creation by the US Congress in January 2004, the MCC–which has tried to deliver smart US foreign assistance by focusing on good policies to promote economic growth, reducing poverty and strengthening institutions– has made a very good impact on the forty-eight countries who are part of the deal as it attempts to reduce poverty through its innovative missions.

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