August 7, 2022, Sunday

PM Deuba makes frantic efforts to forge consensus on MCC, Maoist and Unified Socialist “not positive”

KATHMANDU: In what can be termed as a frantic move, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has intensified meetings with political leaders to ratify the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.

PM Deuba called CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli to Baluwatar for a meeting to discuss the issue. Sources claimed that PM Deuba will urge Chairman Oli to support his government to ratify MCC within the stipulated time that Deuba and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ had set with the MCC in Washington.

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Former Prime Minister Oli’s visit to Baluwatar at a time when the ruling coalition has failed to reach consensus on various important agendas, including ratifying the MCC compact from the parliament, is being regarded as significant. Prime Minister Deuba is employing a strategy to move the MCC agreement forward by joining hands with the main opposition leader Oli as no agreement has been reached within the ruling coalition.

Former Prime Minister Oli had not attended the all-party meeting held by Prime Minister Deuba several times before. Prime Minister Deuba had met Oli at his residence in Balkot a few days ago.

Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ are under pressure to ratify the MCC Compact by February 28 – a deadline set by them to the MCC Board of Directors.

PM Deuba and Prachanda had on September 29, 2021, written a letter to the MCC Board of Directors setting a deadline to ratify MCC Compact by February 28. Now that the deadline is approaching, PM Deuba has been frantically making efforts to woo other party leaders, including CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli Oli.

The two leaders –Deuba and Prachanda – been well-aware of the fact that failure to ratify MCC within the stipulated date (set by them) will result in unfortunate circumstances as Fatema Z Sumar, Vice President at MCC Compact Operations has clearly said that failure to do will end MCC’s partnership with Nepal.

The MCC Board of Directors is discussing its next move on March 22 this year. In the letter, PM Deuba and Prachanda have said they “acknowledge with appreciation” the MCC Compact signed between the US and Nepal on 14 September 2017 and “jointly make a request to the MCC Board for providing additional time for the ratification of the Compact.”

“MCC requests that you continue to work with Parliamentarians and coalition partners to ratify the Compact by the timeline indicated in your letter, no later than February 28, 2022,” a letter addressed to PM Deuba and Maoist Chairman Prachanda by MCC Board said.

The two leaders had discussed the issue during the visit of Fatema Z. Sumar, Vice President, MCC, last year. The letter sent by MCC to PM Deuba and Prachanda states, “We appreciate your joint commitment to advance and ratify the Compact early in 2022. As you know, since 2017, MCC has been your partner in developing sustainable, affordable energy and safer roads for the people of Nepal.”

The letter further states, “Through these programs, the MCC Compact will help reduce poverty and generate opportunities for a better life for millions of Nepalis.”

Likewise, the letter has also said that the MCC Board noted the commitment in the September 2021 letter to work to ratify the Compact in four to five months from the date of the letter.

“The Board also acknowledged your plan to increase public awareness of the Compact and actively combat disinformation about the Compact MCC, therefore, requests that you continue to work with Parliamentarians and coalition partners to ratify the Compact by the timeline indicated in your letter, no later than February 28, 2022,” the letter stated.

The letter further states, “MCC believes that continuing with the Compact is Nepal’s sovereign choice,” adding, “We have worked together with the Government of Nepal for close to a decade to move our partnership forward for the people of Nepal. We stand ready to help the people of Nepal reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth if Nepal’s leaders choose to do so.”

Meanwhile, sources have claimed that Prachanda is not in favor of ratifying the MCC Compact at any cost. He has been reiterating the need to make amendments on the issue before ratifying it in the parliament.