Leaders engage in heated debate on US-proposed MCC grant (with video)

Published On: January 21, 2020 09:10 PM NPT By: Kamal Subedi  | @Inspiredkamal

KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Leaders of different political parties engaged in a heated debate on the US proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on Tuesday. 

Speaking at an interaction program at the Reporter's Club in Kathmandu, standing committee member of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Debendra Poudel opined that the MCC should be endorsed by the parliament even by imposing a whip.  

"Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli wants to implement this program, so do the opposition parties. Therefore, it should be passed by the House of Representatives at any cost."

Speaking further Poudel said, "It should be endorsed by the house since the parties can impose whip to their lawmakers in the parliamentary system."

"Eliminating poverty is not possible only through the implementation of MCC, however, we should not let the grants of Rs 55 billion slip from our hands. We can move ahead amending the controversial provisions on it," he said.

Speaking on the occasion,  a leader of the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) Bhimsen Das Pradhan also opined that Nepal should endorse the MCC. Stating that the existing flaws can be corrected through extensive discourse, Pradhan also suggested others to put their views on it only after considerable study and research. "In the past, erstwhile CPN UML opposed the idea of implementing Arun III resulting in its collapse. Would have been better had it got passed then," he added. 

Chairman of Rastriya Janamorcha Chitra Bahadur KC, on the other hand, argued that the terms and conditions enshrined in MCC should be thoroughly studied so that Nepal can be benefitted. "During the time of the Mahakali Treaty, we used to be told about its advantages. Did we manage to take advantage of it?" he questioned. Adding further, KC advised the leaders of major political parties not to indulge in fraudulent politics. 

"In the past, we presented ourselves in such a way that external forces always play with our weakness. Our politicians and administrators are bribed and tempted for treacherous pacts," he insisted. 

Another speaker during the program, Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Sanyukta) Pashupati Shumsher Rana also reiterated that national interest should be at the center while accepting foreign grants like MCC.  "We have been receiving assistance from India and China through various means. Now, the USA has proposed its grants through MCC. We should prioritize national benefit before accepting such grants."

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is being discussed at large these days both in social media and mainstream media. 

Amid the allegations that MCC is a part of a military alliance of the USA Indo-Pacific Statagy, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali on Monday clarified that the MCC does not have any military component. "The MCC is not related to the Indo Pacific Strategy or any military alliance. I believe that it will be endorsed through the current session of the parliament," he said during his meeting with NCP lawmakers.

US Embassy to Nepal also stated that Indo Pacific Strategy has nothing to do with MCC.  Issuing a news release that provides ‘top ten facts about the MCC’, the embassy said that incorporating military component in the MCC is something that is strictly prohibited by the existing laws of the US government. “Nepal does not need to “join” or “sign up” for anything in order to participate in the MCC,” said the new release, apparently trying to allay concerns raised by a section of politicians that implementing the MCC project in Nepal is tantamount to joining US-led military alliance.

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