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Government suggested endorsing MCC, keeping in centre national interest

KATHMANDU: Foreign affairs experts and civil society leaders have suggested the government to endorse the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) by keeping in centre the national interest. As Nepal itself had proposed for the mega project, it was not logical to retreat from the stand, they said at the programme organized by Institute for Strategic and Socio-Economic Research in the federal capital on Friday.
In 2017, then Finance Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki had signed the agreement on MCC, as per which, Nepal would get 500 million US dollars for the development of energy and transport sectors.
At the programme, Chairman of the Finance Committee under House of Representatives, Krishna Prasad Dahal, said, “Nepal’s situation is not that weak as rumoured outside. A single agreement does not weaken Nepal. We can discuss it based on facts not on sensation so that we can reach a conclusion.”
Former ambassador to the US, Dr Shankar Sharma, said as Nepal and the US had signed the MCC before the launch of Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), Nepal had no option but to implement MCC effectively. MCC must not be linked to IPS, he suggested, adding that the assistance by the donor countries for development must be accepted.
Presidium member of Rastriya Janata Party, Mahantha Thakur, said the MCC could be implemented by keeping in centre the national interest.
Foreign Department member of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Dr Yadav Sharma, said there was no dispute on endorsement of MCC. However, the risky points can be identified and corrected before endorsement, he added.
Political analyst Suresh Raj Acharya argued that lack of clear policy on receiving donation created such dispute.
Former law secretary Narendra Shrestha suggested Nepal government that it immediately passed the MCC from parliament because the MCC was for construction of electricity transmission and upgrading of roadway, which are essential to the country.
Former ambassador Bijay Kumar Karna also said it was illogical to compare MCC with other when the US, the longtime development partner to Nepal, was providing such assistance for the strengthening of Nepal’s democracy and economic development.
Right activist Dr KB Rokaya claimed that MCC dispute was the result of non-transparent activities of government. MCC needs to be endorsed by addressing the issues of national concern, he stressed.
Chairman of the organizing body and former ambassador Prof Dr Bishwambhar Pyakurel said some provisions of the MCC were creating confusion and it was natural. However, there was no influence of IPS in the countries where MCC is adopted, he added.
According to him, it could be ratified by the parliament to meet its condition and other such grant receiving countries were also doing the same in course of implementing it.
There is huge debate going on in the NCP on MCC issues but major opposition Nepali Congress is for the immediate approval of it.

Published Date: Friday, January 10th, 2020 | 08:35 AM

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