NCP decides to put activities under MCC deal on hold

KATHMANDU, May 30: The Nepal Communist Party Secretariat has decided to halt all the ongoing activities of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Nepal until the Millennium Challenge Compact is endorsed from the parliament.

A meeting of the ruling party Secretariat took the decision to put the announced projects under the US Program on hold until the MCC deal is endorsed from the House,” Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa told reporters after the meeting, which was also attended by non-Secretariat members Bhim Rawal, Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada.

Nepal and the United States had reached the deal for the $500 million grant program–that will prioritize electricity transmission and road improvement projects– in 2017 and sent to parliament for ratification in June last year. But the government has not tabled the deal since the ruling party is sharply divided over the deal.

The MCC was also included in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2020/21, which was presented on Thursday.

However, the MCC will not be dropped from the budget. The government has included the projects Lapsiphedi-Ratamate-Hetauda and Lapsiphedi-Ratamate-Damauli-Butwal 400kV transmission lines in the budget.

Executive Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Bam Dev Gautam and Narayan Kaji Shrestha had voiced against the inclusion of the MCC in the budget. But Oli had argued that including the projects in the budget would make no difference since it is yet to be approved from the parliament.