•      Fri Dec 1 2023

MCC Chief Executive Alice Albright to visit Nepal soon

Alice Albright MCC
Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer at MCC. (file)

Kathmandu, Sept 26: The Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Alice Albright will be visiting Kathmandu very soon. A US embassy officials informed that the date will be announced within days.

“Probably she will visit Nepal immediately after the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ returns from China,” the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Albright is the senior-most US official of the MCC. The MCC still have been facing hurdles for the implementation of the projects. The government had decided to use 500 million US Dollar grant for constructing roads and power transmission lines.

According to sources, the contractors have proposed higher amount for the specified projects which has created embarrassment in MCA-Nepal office.

The American Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has been formally implemented from the 13th of Bhadra, 2080 BS, after being approved by the Parliament of Nepal. Finance Minister Dr. Prakasharan Mahat and MCC’s Vice President for Compact Operations Cameron Alford exchanged letters regarding EIF (Entry into Force). But due to lack of sufficient homework in Nepal’s preparation, the American interest about the MCC, which was implemented late, is constantly increasing.

Nepal will receive 500 million dollar grant from MCC. With this assistance, there is a plan to build electricity transmission lines and upgrade roads in Nepal. According to the same, even though MCA-Nepal has made a global tender, it is said that the tenders have been put on “hold” since the cost is more than that specified in the tender.

In other words, a complicated situation has been created in the implementation of projects.

The work of the power transmission line and road construction project to be built under MCA Nepal should be completed within five years of the announcement of the EIF date.

Land acquisition, which is a prerequisite for EIF, is still pending, while other conditions have been fulfilled. The prerequisites for signing the agreement for the implementation of the MCC program, declaring the project a project of national pride, establishing the Electricity Regulatory Commission as a regulatory body and obtaining India’s consent for the construction of the Butwal-Gorakhpur transmission line have been completed.

The portion of responsibility to be borne by the Government of Nepal for the expenses incurred under MCA-Nepal has increased compared to the initial agreement. In the initial contract, the total cost of the MCC project was estimated at US$ 630 million. Out of which 500 million US dollars are MCC grants and 130 million US dollars will be borne by the Nepalese government in the compact.

The Council of Ministers meeting decided to ‘amend the agreement concluded between Nepal and MCC and give approval to increase the contribution of the Government of Nepal’. After the decision of the Council of Ministers, the liability of the Government of Nepal has increased to 67 million US dollars and reached 197 million US dollars. Thus, the estimated cost of the overall project has increased from 630 million US dollars to 697 million US dollars.