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Nepal parliament ratifies US govt’s controversial $500m MCC grant deal after 5 years

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his ministers attend a parliament meeting, in Kathmandu, on Sunday, February 27, 2022.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his ministers attend a parliament meeting, in Kathmandu, on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Kathmandu, February 27

After five years of hullaballoo, the parliament in Nepal has ratified the controversial MCC grant deal on Sunday.

Nepal had signed the deal with the United States government on September 14, 2017, to receive a USD 500 million grant for road and electricity infrastructure projects.

However, Nepali politicians and society are virtually divided about the MCC grant deal as many people argue the deal has some provisions against the national sovereignty and national interests whereas many others think it is a great help for the country’s development. Read more about the long-standing dispute about the MCC deal.

But, the ruling alliance that commands a majority in the House of Representatives had decided to pass the deal this morning. It, however, had decided to add an interpretative declaration to address various concerns raised in Nepal about the impact of the deal.

Following that, the House had put the deal on the vote, and a majority of the lawmakers present there voted in favour. Some key members of the ruling parties, however, objected to the deal in the parliament meeting today also.

MCC deal - nepal us mcc grant agreement mcc grant deal
File: Nepal’s Minister for Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and MCC Acting CEO Jonathan Nash sign an agreement in the Treaty Room of the US Department of State, Washington, on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

The government had tabled the deal in the parliament last week as Washington’s deadline was coming closer.

Earlier last week, two key members of the ruling alliance–CPN-Maoist Centre and CPN-Unified Socialist–that had been opposing the 2017 MCC grant deal signed with the United States government for the USD 500 million grant had decided to let the deal get passed through the parliament.

The parties had decided to go for the compromise as Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba prepared to form a new coalition with the main opposition CPN-UML to retain his premiership and endorse the MCC grant deal.

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