Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has hinted that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will be passed by the House.
Responding to questions raised by lawmakers about the government's policy and programs in the House on Tuesday, PM Oli has hinted that the MCC, which the main opposition party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has urged the government to pass, will be passed by the House.
He pointed that the issue has already been tabled in the House and it will be decided by the House and not political parties. That may well have been directed at those inside ruling CPN who are against the MCC.
"A few lawmakers seems to have said MCC has come through the backdoor about a project in point number 221 of the policy and programs," PM Oli said answering the questions raised by CPN lawmakers including senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and Bhim Rawal.
Pointing at inclusion of the Lapsiphedi-Ratamate-Hetauda and Lapsiphedi-Ratamate-Butwal transmission lines, that are part of the MCC, in the policy and programs, Khanal and Rawal had questioned if the MCC was making a backdoor entry.
"The projects have not come through the backdoor. They have come through the main gate. The projects will be built be it by MCC, or anyone else, or by the government itself."
Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday had stated that the MCC should be passed to implement the decision of past government.
But the ruling CPN is divided on the issue of MCC.
CPN had hotly debated MCC during the standing committee meeting in December 2019 with the erstwhile Maoists and those from Madhav Kumar Nepal faction opposing it saying it should only be passed if it becomes clear that it is not part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy floated by America.
The US embassy in Kathmandu later issued a 10-point statement clarifying that the MCC is not part of military affairs.
The press statement, which it said was in response to a large number of queries from Nepali citizens, politicians, and members of the media about the MCC, claimed that every Nepali government since 2012 has been in favor of the MCC and that there is no military component to the compact.
The issue was raised even during the central committee meeting that concluded on February 2 and the party formed a task force to address the issue. The party formed the task force led by senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and including Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and standing committee member Bhim Rawal as members on February 2 to study MCC to find out whether it is part of the American military strategy or not.
The task force recommended that it should not be endorsed without amendment.