KATHMANDU, May 30: A Secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has decided to halt all activities being carried out as part of Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Nepal as the Millennium Challenge Compact is yet to be endorsed through the federal parliament.
The three-hour meeting held at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Baluwatar failed to make any headway on the fate of the MCC deal, according to NCP leaders.
"The activities being carried out by the MCA will be halted as long as the MCC is not endorsed by parliament. The remaining activities of the MCC will be carried out only after it is approved from the House," NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha, told reporters while emerging from the meeting this afternoon.
The next Secretariat meeting of the NCP will decide the fate of the MCC as per the report earlier submitted by an NCP taskforce on the same, Shrestha said.
"We discussed the MCC deal and tried to have a firm opinion on the projects that are part of the MCC as incorporated in the annex of the fiscal year budget 2020/21."
According to Shrestha, the government will try to find an alternative way with regards to the MCC if it is not endorsed through parliament.
On a media query relating to whether the fiscal year budget will be approved without the MCC ratification, Shrestha said that parliament will approve the budget in its due course.
The meeting focused on endorsing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement through the federal parliament.
In the budget for the fiscal year 2020/21 unveiled on Friday, the government included the projects to be developed under the 500 million MCC grant although it is yet to be ratified by the federal parliament.
Some leaders of the NCP including Jhalanath Khanal and Bhim Rawal are against endorsing the MCC deal through parliament if it is to be approved as it is. They are in favor of endorsing the MCC agreement only after amending it. While, PM KP Sharma Oli, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali are in favor of endorsing the MCC without further delay, NCP Executive Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other NCP Secretariat members, too, are divided on the ratification of the MCC as it is.
Those NCP leaders who are opposing the MCC Compact have primarily objected to its three provisions. The first is that the Compact will prevail over Nepal's existing laws in cases of conflicts. The second one is that Nepal has to take the Indian government's consent while building transmission lines within the Nepali territory. The third one is that Nepal's Auditor General will not be able to audit the accounts of the projects under MCC and only US audit firms will be allowed to do so.
Likewise, NCP leaders Khanal and Rawal have been insisting for a long time that the MCC should not be ratified through parliament as it is since this is an integral part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy pushed forward by the United States to counter China.
Although NCP leader Rawal, Foreign Minister Gyawali and Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada are not NCP Secretariat members, they were also invited to the meeting today. Gyawali and Rawal were the members of the MCC taskforce formed by the NCP under the leader of former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal. The committee was formed earlier last year after most of the central committee members stood against the US grant meant for a cross-border electricity transmission line and road projects.