Kathmandu, May 31: The secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on Friday held discussions on the projects under the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact between Nepal and the US included in the budget for fiscal year 2020/21. Following the intense intra-party dispute regarding the MCC, the NCP called the secretariat meeting to reach consensus on MCC within the party. The meeting took a decision to execute the projects falling under the MCC only after the parliament endorsed the agreement which is currently under consideration in the House. While unveiling the budget of the fiscal year 2020/21 on Friday, the government announced some projects to be developed under the 500 million MCC grant. The grant, however, is yet to be ratified by the federal parliament. NCP Spokesperson Narayankaji Shrestha said the meeting had a brief discussion on MCC and rationales behind the inclusion of MCC projects in the budget for upcoming fiscal. Since the MCC agreement is under consideration at the parliament, the MCC was incorporated in the budget on the same basis, he said. Earlier, Bhim Rawal, a member of the Jhala Nath Khanal-led task force that prepared a report on the MCC for the ruling party NCP, criticized the government for incorporating MCC projects in its polices and progarmmes through the back door. Both Khanal and Rawal were in favour of endorsing the MCC agreement only after amending some of its provisions. To discuss on the issue, Finance Minister Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and Bhim Rawal were also invited in today’s meeting. During the meeting, Minister Dr Khatiwada
clarified the rationales behind the incorporation of MCC listed projects in the budget of the next fiscal year. He added that the budget incorporated the projects under the MCC just in expectation of the MCC agreement getting endorsed by the parliament. Minister Dr Khatiwada said if the MCC agreement got rejected then the government would still push forward the projects by finding alternative funding. It is said that Minister Dr Khatiwada would further clarify the issue in the parliament. As the task force had already submitted its report on MCC, the upcoming secretariat meeting would hold further discussions on the report, said Shrestha. “Then we will reach a conclusion. Till then, the works of the projects will be forwarded,” he added. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Gyawali are in favour of endorsing the MCC without further delay while NCP chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other NCP Secretariat members are divided on the ratification of the MCC as it is.