MCC likely to be main agenda of winter session of Parliament

KATHMANDU: The winter session of the Parliament will begin at 2 pm on Tuesday.

Similarly, the MCC headquarters in Washington is also holding a board meeting to discuss the Nepal Compact today.

Some leaders of the ruling Nepali Congress have hinted that the MCC will be the main agenda of the Parliament meeting, which was called two weeks earlier than the scheduled date, and the parliament will start the process to endorse the $500 million MCC project.

The ruling Nepali Congress led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur was in favour of endorsing the MCC through the Parliament since the beginning.

But, CPN (Maoist Centre) and CPN (Unified Socialist) have been saying that the MCC should not be endorsed without some amendments.

The main opposition CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli said that they will make their position clear on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) only after the ruling coalition partners float their clear opinion.

NC lawmaker Min Bishwokarma, who is close to Prime Minister Deuba, has hinted that the MCC will be taken to the Parliament for discussions.

Talking to Nepal Press over phone, leader Bishwokarma said that the Nepali Congress was in favour of parliamentary ratification since the beginning and they wanted to discuss the issue in the Parliament.

“MCC is a reputed issue for Nepal. That is why the Prime Minister wanted to take the issue to the Parliament at the earliest,” he said.

CPN (Maoist Centre) chief whip Dev Gurung said that the discussion has not been held in the ruling coalition to take ahead of MCC in the Parliament.

Gurung said that the government is waiting for the position of UML , which has been obstructing the Parliament demanding that the 14 lawmakers elected on UML tickets who have defected to the CPN (Unified Socialist) be sacked.

Washington had sent its staffers time and again in the past to Kathmandu to exert pressure after Nepal expressed its reluctance to endorse the development project.

The MCC pact was signed by the Nepal government and US foreign assistance agency in 2017.

Earlier in November, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of the United States Department of State Ambassador Donald Lu came to Kathmandu and urged the Nepal government to endorse the MCC at the earliest.

MCC Vice President Fatima Z Sumar in September came to Kathmandu just to pile pressure on the government.

According to a source, Prime Minister Deuba had expressed his commitment to both the officials that the MCC will be endorsed at the earliest by forging consensus in the ruling coalition.

During a programme held in the Capital last week, Gurung had reiterated that the MCC is a part of Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

MCC has been awaiting parliamentary endorsement for the past two years.

The then Finance Minister Yuvaraj Khatiwada of then KP Oli-led government on July 2, 2019 had filed the MCC at the Parliament Secretariat.

Though Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of the United States Department of State Ambassador Lu and MCC Vice President Sumar have been exerting pressure on the Nepali leaders and government, they have not given a time limit to endorse the project.

As the MCC has become a topic of discussion in the country, Chinese officials have also started talking about the project.

During a video conversation with UML General Secretary Shankar Pokharel, Chen Chao, Deputy Minister of International Affairs under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), revealed China’s position on the issue.

It has been learnt that he urged the UML to rethink proposals including the MCC before endorsing.

Earlier on November 23, the global times said that If the US truly wants to help Nepal to develop, instead of using the MCC agreement to control Nepal and force Kathmandu to confront China, Washington should take Nepal’s concerns into consideration, make necessary changes to the agreement, and let the aid project be integrated into the overall architecture of regional interconnection.

Now, the responsibility is on the shoulders of Dahal and Deuba to pass the MCC. The support of 136 lawmakers is needed for the parliamentary endorsement of the MCC.

The NC needs the support of Maoist Centre and CPN (Unified Socialist) to endorse the compact.

 

 

 

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