The Parliamentary Hearing Committee on Thursday has unanimously endorsed the envoys recommended for America, Britain and South Africa.
The government had recommended former finance minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada, former chief secretary Lok Darshan Regmi and Nirmal Kumar Bishwokarma as envoys to America, Britain and South Africa respectively.
Chairman of the committee Laxman Lal Karna said all three have been endorsed unanimously. The committee had received complaints against Khatiwada and Regmi but the complainants did not come into contact.
The process for acquiring agreemo from the respective countries will now start after the parliamentary endorsement. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will administer oath of office and secrecy once the agreemo arrives.
The Cabinet meeting on October 1 had recommended former finance minister Khatiwada as envoy to America and Regmi, who resigned from chief secretary on the same day, to the Great Britain and Bishwokarma to South Africa.
Sources claim that PM Oli had asked Regmi to resign before his term was to end and the latter put appointment as envoy to Britain as a condition for that. Had Regmi served until his term ended on October 19, Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, who was named the new chief secretary during the Cabinet meeting that very day, would have retired on October 8.
Khatiwada was recently appointed as an advisor with perks and benefits of a minister.
Khatiwada, who also filled in as the government spokesperson and communication and information technology minister since Gokul Baskota resigned over the audio tape alleging him of dealing for bribe, had resigned as finance minister on September 4.
His term as the National Assembly member had ended on March 3 after two years following drawing of lottery. Khatiwada had been serving as minister despite not being a federal lawmaker but he could no longer continue as a minister without being a lawmaker for over six months.
The Constitution does not allow non-lawmaker to serve as minister for more than six months.
PM Oli wanted to again nominate Khatiwada to the National Assembly and continue him as finance minister arguing there are no other competent persons to handle the economy in the current difficult situation. But Oli had to relent and recommend CPN Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam to the National Assembly after failing to convince the nine-strong secretariat.
Khatiwada pledged to facilitate changes in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) during the hearing on Thursday.
He revealed that he is in contact with the Americans about the MCC and pointed that he has carefully listened to the concerns about the MCC inside the ruling CPN.
"The issues that have been raised about MCC—some are appropriate. A few are due to difference in understanding. It will be my duty to convince on the issue of difference in understanding," Khatiwada, who served as finance minister until September 4, told the Parliamentary Hearing Committee on Thursday. "They (Americans) have also talked about that. I am in regular contact. We will clarify on the issues that need clarification. Will clarify some through note of exchange, others can be resolved through letter of exchange and that too will be resolved. They have said that their only interest is Nepal's development and expressed readiness to make that clear."
Lawmakers in the committee asked Khatiwada how he can help in endorsing the MCC as an envoy when he could not get it emdorsed as a finance minister while in Nepal. "We can increase their understanding while relaying our position as I am a political person, and have closely listened to the comments and concerns inside the party. I have talked in the context that I will have a role in facilitation," he pointed.
CPN lawmaker and former finance minister Surendra Pandey bluntly asked what role he will play in endorsement of the MCC as an envoy having failed to do that in capacity of finance minister. "I was in the government yesterday. I would have had a decisive role in getting it endorsed by the House as a finance minister. I could have said let's do it this way or that way. But I will now be at a position of implementing the Foreign Ministry's instruction. I may have some personal opinions about MCC but I will now implement the government's instruction on MCC."
Nepali Congress (NC) lawmakers in the committee asked Khatiwada about his failure to get the MCC endorsed while those from ruling CPN asked questions about changes in the MCC.
CPN lawmaker Shiv Kuar Mandal asked him how he would proceed about making changes in the MCC which is against national interest while NC lawmaker Pushpa Bhusal asked him about the grounds to make bilateral relation with America, that has been hit by the failure to endorse the MCC, cordial.