Nepali private sector has urged the government, political parties and other stakeholders to pass the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)’s Nepal Compact Project immediately.
Three umbrella organisations of the private sector – Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) – issued a joint statement on Wednesday to pass the project securing the national interest of the country.
“MCC project will ensure timely construction of transmission line and maintenance of strategic road and support in high economic growth,” read the statement. “In the post-COVID-19 pandemic scenario, Nepal needs a huge investment to take the battered economy back on track while the MCC project will create electricity export base in the long run and transfer modern technology.”
The private sector associations said that the pandemic had caused shrinkage in internal resources while foreign support has not been increased. In the first month of the current fiscal year 2021/22, foreign investment fell by 49 per cent. In this scenario, US$ 500 million grant support is crucial for Nepal, they said.
In absence of high-capacity cross-border transmission lines, a significant amounf of energy is being wasted during wet season. If the country couldn’t incrase per capita electricity consumption, energy will be wasted in the dry season as well within a few years.
“At the same time, poor road infrastructure has resulted in increased cost of industry and business. It has weakened Nepal’s competitive capacity,” read the statement signed by the presidents of FNCCI, CNI and NCC – Shekhar Golchha, Vishnu Kumar Agrawal and Rajendra Malla respectively.
Nepal and MCC signed an agreement in September 2017 for a USD 630 million project to construct large transmission lines, including Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border transmission facility, and rehabilitate strategic roads.
The Electricity Transmission Project will build 312 km of 400 kV electricity transmission line and three substations and provide technical assistance for the power sector in Nepal.
The 312 km of transmission line will pass through 30 municipalities of 10 districts. Altogether, 856 towers will be installed to support the transmission line.
The locations for the three substations are in Ratmate, Damauli and New Butwal.
Likewise, the Road Maintenance Project aims to enhance current practices in the maintenance of Nepal’s strategic roads network and will provide technical assistance to the Department of Roads (DoR) and Roads Board Nepal.
Maintenance interventions will include pavement improvement techniques and include safety enhancement features. New pavement improvement technology adopted are Full Depth Recycling (FDR) and superpave asphalt concrete which follows the principle of recycling existing pavement material.
As per the agreement, the project should be completed within five years and in case of incompletion, the remaining budget would be routed back to the MCC, United States of America. The project was supposed to begin on 30 June 2020.
Nepal is divided in the ratification of the agreement by the parliament and rumours had created suspicion in the part of people about the project.
Private sector said that due to the time limit, this project could be a model for development governance. MCC is in implementation in about 30 countries across the world.
Earlier in September, Vice President of Compact Operations of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Fatema Z. Sumar had visited Nepal to facilitate the implementation of MCC – Nepal Programme.
She held meetings with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, former PM and Chairman of CPN (UML) KP Sharma Oli, former PM and Chairman of CPN (MC) Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, former PM and Chairman of CPN (US) Madhav Kumar Nepal, Finance Minister Janardan Sharma and other leaders.
However, her visit failed to produce immediate results.
source : TRN,