Nepal writes to the US to clarify ‘controversial’ provisions of MCC agreement

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KATHMANDU, September 4: Amid criticisms over some of the provisions of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement, Nepal has requested the United States to clarify the provisions deemed controversial in Nepal.

Sources familiar with the development said the Ministry of Finance has recently written to the US government to clarify the controversial provisions included in the MCC agreements. In the letter, the Ministry of Finance has asked the US government to clarify whether the MCC is a part of the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy or linked with the US security policy.

Officials at the Finance Ministry said they have also asked the US government to clarify the need to endorse the agreement through the parliament. The officials said they have also inquired if the MCC agreement prevails over Nepal’s law and constitution.

A section of intellectuals in Kathmandu have argued that the MCC agreement undermines Nepal’s existing laws and the constitution. “We have sought clarity over all the provisions of the MCC that have been questioned by a section of people in Nepal,” a senior official told Republica, asking not to be named.

The request of Nepal to the US to clarify some of the provisions linked to the MCC comes in the wake of the visit of MCC Vice President Fatema Sumar to Nepal next week. A section of people and political parties have maintain that the MCC agreement should not be endorsed through the parliament until some of the provisions included in the agreement are amended.

During her stay in Kathmandu, Vice President Sumar is expected to emphasize the importance of ratifying the agreement should Nepal want to continue with the grant. She also hopes to express concern over the increase in disinformation about the $500 million infrastructure-development program, according to the Embassy officials.

The Nepal government asked to be considered for the multimillion-dollar grant and was subsequently selected in 2014 based on its commitment to democracy, good government, and transparency. The government negotiated and signed the agreement with MCC in 2017 to bring sustainable energy and improved road maintenance to the people of Nepal.

However, the MCC agreement has not been endorsed by the parliament as political parties appear sharply divided over its implementation. A section of lawmakers, mainly belonging to the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center) have argued that the agreement needs to be amended first to bring the MCC projects into the implementation.

Source : Republica