First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact is poised to mark a significant milestone as it transitions into full-fledged implementation, with the highly anticipated date for Entry into Force (EIF) scheduled for August 30. The culmination of deliberations by concerned authorities has cemented this date in place.
In a recent announcement by the Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal), the board convened on August 16 to formally designate August 30 as the pivotal day for the EIF. Reflecting back to September 2017, a pivotal juncture was reached when the US Government’s MCC and the Government of Nepal sealed a monumental US $500 million grant agreement, paving the way for this transformative initiative.
Elaborating on this development, MCA-Nepal conveyed, “The Board of Directors at MCA-Nepal has taken a resolute stance to initiate the implementation phase coinciding with the EIF of the MCC Nepal Compact Program, scheduled for August 30, 2023.” The statement further highlighted that while some aspects relating to land acquisition and compensation distribution remain outstanding, the subsequent implementation will empower selected construction firms with site access, effectively addressing these challenges.
The canvas of this endeavor encompasses pivotal undertakings centered around power transmission line enhancements and extensive road construction, both integral components of the MCC Nepal Compact. The stipulated timeline for these projects spans a five-year period from the commencement of EIF, commencing on August 30.
It is noteworthy that the EIF’s actualization was initially earmarked for June 30, 2020. However, a complex interplay of factors, including hurdles in parliamentary endorsement and the intricacies of project prerequisites, precipitated a delay in its launch.
Of the six preconditions meticulously outlined for facilitating the EIF, an impressive five have been successfully met, according to MCA-Nepal. These encompass key achievements such as project agreement execution, official designation of the MCC projects as matters of national pride, the establishment of an Electricity Regulatory Commission for sector oversight, and the critical approval from the Indian Government to proceed with the Butwal-Gorakhpur transmission line.
However, a pivotal piece in this intricate puzzle, the acquisition of land for EIF implementation, remains a work in progress. A comprehensive land parcel spanning 1,471 hectares is deemed essential for the intricate web of electricity transmission lines that forms the backbone of these projects.
Additionally, specific land parcels, including a 20-hectare stretch for the Ratamate Substation in Nuwakot and a substantial 104-hectare expanse for the erection of 856 transmission towers, have been earmarked for development. MCA-Nepal has embarked on the noble task of initiating compensation procedures for affected landowners.
Unavoidably, the deferment in the initiation of MCC projects has tangentially influenced the financial responsibility shouldered by the government. The initial projection of a US $130 million commitment has evolved into an augmented financial obligation of US $197 million, encompassing a noteworthy increase of US $67 million.
As the eagerly awaited August 30 dawns closer, the MCC Nepal Compact Program stands on the precipice of unveiling its transformative potential, set to not only enhance Nepal’s infrastructure but also exemplify the power of international collaborations in shaping a prosperous future.
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