Kathmandu, Nepal, December 24, 2019: Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has emerged as of the daunting task within the ruling head Nepal Communist Party (NCP). As the government has been dillydallying to rectify the MCC from the parliament due to differences within the ruling head NCP, the prospect of implementing the multibillion projects under the MCC would be derailed. Some NCP leaders have opposed the MCC terming it as USA’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).
Though the MCC is an independent US foreign assistance agency established in 2004 and Nepal and the MCC had already entered into an agreement in 2017 to implement the $500 million compact for the development of roads and power transmission lines by setting the specific deadline, indulging on differences within the ruling head NCP is taken suspiciously in the diplomatic and political fronts.
IPS is a US-led strategy that advocates and works for free and open Indo-Pacific region by setting three pillars of defenses, governance and economics. Following the ‘unnecessary’ debate over the MCC, not only the US officials but also the concerned experts have repeatedly been stating that there is no any linkage between the MCC and IPS.
During the weeklong standing committee meeting of the NCP that was ended on Sunday, there was a heated debate over the issue. The leaders of the NCP has mandated the party leadership to take decision from the upcoming central committee meeting after seeking formal opinion of the USA to ascertain whether the MCC is part of the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy before taking any further decision.
Concerning over the delay for endorsing from the parliament, the MCC backed projects in Nepal- the Millennium Challenge Account -Nepal (MCA-Nepal) has already appealed the government for timely ratification of the MCC Compact by the Federal Parliament. However, it is likely that the MCC would not be endorsed from the ongoing winter session of the parliament, thanks to the widening differences within the ruling head NCP.
As the government has failed to meet the key preconditions made during the agreement, the projects under the MCC have failed to start yet. Rectifying the MCC from the parliament is taken as the major remaining condition to take starts the projects. Rectifying the MCC is set as of major condition to ensure that projects implemented under the support do not face any problems later due to other laws.
The MCC- Nepal program has identified projects under two headings- high-voltage transmission lines and road maintenance which need to be completed by June 29, 2025. As per the agreement, the project will construct 312-kilometre-long 400 kVA high-voltage transmission lines and three high capacity substations, including building 856 transmission line towers across the alignment. Likewise, different road projects with a total length of 100 kilometers will be built under the project by using technology of the US.