July 4: The government has informed the donor country, the United States , that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC Compact) has been currently put on hold. With the expiry of deadline to endorse the compact by the parliament two days back, the Finance Ministry wrote a missive to the United States in this regard.
The delay in the endorsement of the MCC compact by the parliament was the effect of intra-party wrangling in the ruling Nepal Communist Party.
Now, with the pending of huge assistance, Nepal is likely to witness negative impacts on its development projects.
Finance Minister Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada said the ongoing budget session of the federal parliament was prorogued due to COVID-19. So, the United States was informed that the MCC compact aimed at development of energy and transport sectors could not be endorsed by the parliament at present. He however said government was for the implementation of MCC compact.
Dr Khatiwada said, "It can be discussed that some points in the MCC compact could have been presented differently. But the disputes still persisting over some points of the compact affect trust on and perspective towards Nepal government." He suggested that some of the issues could be sorted out through letters of exchange.
Talking to the National News Agency (RSS), Dr Khatiwada further said the endorsement of the MCC pact was delayed also because of the lack of preparatory works for its implementation owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the budget had incorporated some activities for the implementation of the compact, the difference within the ruling party halted it, pointing out the need of approval first by the parliament for undertaking the activities.
Earlier, there was sharp polarisation in the standing committee of NCP over the MCC pact resulting to the formation of a team to study its broader impact. The study team comprised senior leader Jhalanath Khanal, leader Bhim Bahadur Rawal and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. The team later submitted the report to the party leadership, urging for some amendment before its passage by the parliament. The MCC compact consist of Rs 51 billion assistance by the US government to Nepal for energy and transportation sectors. (RSS)