Ruling alliance not in mood to endorse MCC immediately: Former Speaker Mahara
What will happen to the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact? What will the ruling alliance do?
I have not gone through the response received from the MCC. However, I am well aware about the issues prior to this because I was also connected with this issue. The MCC was initially related only with economic affairs during my tenure as the finance minister. No concrete plan of construction roads and developing the energy sector was mentioned.
However, this has not been limited only to purely economic development as it was during its inception.
Two issues were raised during the agreement. First, the US representatives said that it was a part of the Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS). Then officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs also echoed that it is a part of IPS. It means it is a part of military strategy. Therefore, it should be rectified.
Next, there are some issues which can not be accepted as it is. It should not be above Nepal’s laws and constitution. Nepal should have the right to pick the project and sites as well. Similarly, audits should be carried out by Nepal’s authorities.
Therefore, the MCC Compact should be amended, otherwise it is not acceptable.
MCC clarified that it is not above Nepal’s law and it is not a part of IPS. Can it now be endorsed by parliament?
The recent letter was sent by the MCC. It is an organization under the finance ministry of the US. Therefore, the US government should clarify about the IPS. It should clarify onr statements made by US officials and statements issued by the foreign ministry.
MCC’s Vice President Fatima is on a visit to Nepal. Isn’t her clarification enough?
No. The US government said it was a part of ISP. I also heard that the past government had also signed a confidential agreement.
You were talking about foreing minister’s tour to US?
Yes. I heard about that. However, nothing was disclosed. What I mean to say is that statements alone from the MCC are not enough as US officials had already said it is a part of the ISP. We should seek statements from the US government.
You mean to say that further steps should be taken at the government level, yes?
The Nepal Government should respond. It should deal with the US government.
What happens to the MCC Compact?
I can’t predict anything about it.
What does your party have to say about MCC?
Without amendment, the MCC cannot be rectified.
What about the ruling alliance?
MCC has now become a matter of interest for the general public, our sovereignty and independence. Besides, the Rastriya Janamorch Party has already announced that it will withdraw its support from the government if MCC is endorsed by parliament. Likewise, CPN (Maoist Center) has maintained that the MCC cannot be rectified from parliament without amendment. We have witnessed row among leaders of Janata Samajbadi Party. The case is similar in the ruling Nepali Congress as well.
So, the ruling alliance also believes that it should be endorsed through parliament for now.
While you were the speaker of parliament, did the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli pressurize you to endorse the MCC from parliament?
Yes, he did. Oli had asked me to endorse the MCC thrice. During that time, NCP used to have two two chairmen. Oli did not think of discussing with his counterpart, Puspha Kamal Dahal regarding the matter. MCC had become an international concern by that time.
Afterwards, the Chinese President Xi Xing Ping visited Nepal. I then told Oli that I will review the matter after Xi’s visit. But, Oli’s pressure remained the same.
Oli is a nationalist leader, but his actions seem against the nation. How?
That is a matter of his concern. He should not have pressurized me. But, he did and I don’t know why?
Has Oli changed his view about MCC now being in a position of the main opposition party?
I recently held a discussion with Bishnu Poudel. He asked my view on MCC and I told him I am against it. He then indirectly told me, in his own tone “We are the main opposition party” and that suggested that UML has also chosen to stand against it.
And,this time their view that the MCC is against the nation’s favor and should not be rectified from parliament is a right stand to take.
Was it Oli’s mistake to pressurize the speaker of the house to endorse MCC from parliament?
As I have said, how could I know his inner thoughts? He could be trying to act against his own will? Or could be acting in a way and thinking in another.