US expresses concern over Nepal parliament’s delay in ratifying $500mn grant

Written By: Saloni Murarka WION
Kathmandu Published: Oct 31, 2021, 03:09 PM(IST)

(File photo) Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba Photograph:( IANS )

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The government decided to end the Parliament session as the main opposition party, CPN-UML, had been obstructing House proceedings since September 8 when the new session of the Parliament began.

The United States government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in Parliamentary ratification of its $500 million grant to Nepal, after the government prorogued the session on Friday.

The government decided to end the Parliament session as the main opposition party, CPN-UML, had been obstructing House proceedings since September 8 when the new session of the Parliament began.

The main opposition party stalled the House proceedings to protest the alleged bias of Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota.

Later in the evening, the MCC, a US government aid agency, issued a statement, saying, “The delay in ratification jeopardises the critical and timely support for this $500 million grant which would provide to help more than 23 million Nepalis access reliable energy and safer roads,” the statement said. 

The statement, however, said that they were assured by the coalition leaders to ratify the grant as soon as possible.

On her four-day visit to Nepal in September, Fatima Z. Sumar, Vice President of the MCC, met senior Nepali political party leaders including Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. 

“MCC’s senior delegation visit to Nepal in September, which provided clarifications on the MCC-Nepal Compact, combined with recent commitments from the Government of Nepal confirming their ongoing support for the grant have laid a clear path forward for the compact,” the statement added. 

The parliamentary ratification of MCC has already been sidelined on multiple counts the as political parties are divided over whether the federal government should ratify the compact. 

Deuba continues to stand firm on getting the MCC passed through the Parliament, but his coalition partners, including the Maoist Centre, are yet to take a clear stand. 

Outlining the 70 years of partnership between Nepal and the US, the MCC said, “From disaster assistance after the 2015 earthquake to our ongoing whole-of-government response to the coronavirus pandemic – including the donation of 1.6 million COVID19 vaccines to date – the United States has been there for the people of Nepal in their greatest times of need.” 

The $500 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a continuation of the strong partnership between the United States and Nepal to reduce poverty through economic growth.

The MCC said the decision whether to move forward with the compact now rests with Nepal.

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