The United States of America has set a February 28 deadline for Nepal to win legislative approval of the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement.
On February 3, MCC Acting Chief Executive Officer Mahmoud Bah addressed a letter to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his coalition partner CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, threatening that Nepal would forfeit a $500 million MCC funding if the transaction was not approved by February 28.
Today, copies of the letter prepared on behalf of Deuba and Dahal, as well as the MCC’s response, were released to media outlets. On September 19, Deuba and Dahal wrote a joint letter to the MCC, requesting that the US government grant them up to five months to obtain the deal’s approval.
In response, MCC replied on February 3: “Without action on your side by February 28, the MCC Board will address its next step, including whether to continue with the agreement, at its March 2022 meeting.”
In the absence of parliamentary authorisation, the board has the ability to withdraw Nepal’s eligibility for the $500 million US grant under the MCC accord. According to the letter, such a choice would mean the end of MCC’s collaboration with Nepal.
The MCC also stated that it thought that Nepal’s sovereign decision was to continue with the agreement. The country’s political forces, including the ruling coalition partners, remain divided over the accord, with Deuba wishing to approve it and Dahal and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal preferring to change it before ratifying it.
The US has stated that amendments to the MCC agreement are not conceivable at this time. Deuba and Dahal stated in their joint letter dated September 29th, “During the recent visit of Fatema Z Sumar, vice president, Compact Operations, we had detailed conversations and reiterated our commitment to ratification.
The newly established coalition government is making every effort to achieve this goal.”They informed the US side of the government’s interest in obtaining and executing the Millennium Challenge Corporation funding for Nepal’s economic growth.
They stated that they will clear up any confusion and apprehensions about the MCC accord in up to five months. They stated that they will jointly seek that the MCC agreement be tabled in the House of Representatives.