October 6: Associations of business and industries of the priavte sector of Nepal have expressed concerns regarding the delay in implementation of the US-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant agreement signed with Nepal on September 14, 2017.
Issuing a joint statement on Wednesday (October 6), the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) urged all stakeholders to immediately endorse the grant agreement through the parliament considering the greater benefit of the country.
The private sector organisations argued that the country can attain high economic growth if the strategically important transmission lines and roads under the MCC project are completed on time. The statement noted that the country needs adequate amount of investment in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the MCC offers the country an opportunity for investment as well as long-term development of transmission lines for exporting electricity at a time when the country’s economy is struggling due to the impact of the pandemic.
Therefore, the private sector has urged all the political parties and other stakeholders to endorse the grant agreement without any further delay as it has already been four years since the agreement was signed.
The press statement further said that the internal resources of the country has shrunk due to the impact of the pandemic while foreign assistanc has also not increased as expected. According to the statement, foreign investment in the first month of the current fiscal year has declined by 49 percent. In such a context, the US$ 500 million grant assistance from the USA would play a vital role in uplifting the country’s economy.
The statement also said that Nepal faces the prospect of wasting the electricity produced in the country due to the lack of transmission lines. On the other hand, poor roads have added to the industrial cost therby increasing the commercial price of products and reducing the competitiveness of the goods in the market.
The joint statement also drew the attention that the MCC grant agreement must be implemented within five years of signing the agreement. It further said that the project is being implemebt in 30 nations across the world including in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa and expressed hope that it will be implemented in Nepal without any problem.