First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The government has allocated Rs 9.10 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal) project in the budget for the coming fiscal year.
In the upcoming fiscal year, the government has included programs in the budget to spend Rs 1.1 billion from its own resources and Rs 8.9 billion from US government grants.
The MCA-Nepal is a mechanism set up to manage and operate the transmission line project under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which is being operated in Nepal with US assistance.
In the current fiscal year too, the government had allocated more than Rs 10 billion in the budget to implement this program. Out of that, it is estimated that Rs. 5.15 billion will be spent by next July.
The cabinet meeting had decided on April 25 not to allow the project to lack the required budget. There has been political controversy in Nepal for two years over the MCC project. Due to which, the MCC agreement between the US and Nepal, which was tabled in the Parliament, has not been passed yet.
The agreement of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which was registered for approval on July 12, 2008 due to misunderstanding between the political parties, is still under consideration in the House of Representatives. As the MCC agreement will not be approved by the parliament immediately due to the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the government has started discussions on other alternatives to move it forward.
Officials say discussions have begun, although they are not sure what the alternative to a provision approved by parliament will be.
The Nepali Embassy in the United States has consulted with MCC representatives in this regard. Nepal’s ambassador to the United States Yuvaraj Khatiwada has a discussion with Fatima Sumer, Vice President of the Compact Operations Department of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Washington DC.
On the one hand, the House of Representatives has been dissolved and on the other hand, the parties have not even agreed to approve it. Speaker Agni Sapkota had taken a stand to table it in the House of Representatives only after an agreement was reached between the parties.
However, in a conversation with the government news agency ‘Rashtriya Samachar Samiti’ last week, ambassador Khatiwada has said that he is preparing to go for an alternative process of approving the agreement. In the absence of a parliament, the government has two options to move the MCC forward. The first is to review, amend or supplement the agreement. Second, the alternative is to bring in an ordinance to implement the MCC agreement.
Earlier, an environmental impact assessment report of the power transmission line has been passed by the ministerial decision for the construction of 400 kV transmission line to be built under MCC grant. Now the project is able to respected areas and start counting trees for the project implementation.
Although the process for land acquisition has moved forward, the work has not been completed. After the acquisition of land, tender has to be called for the project. However, the MCC will not be able to secure the source without the approval of the parliament.
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