Print Edition - 2016-03-03 | MONEY
No deadline extension for MCC projects: Sumar
Mar 3, 2016-
Nepal will have to buckle up and complete projects undertaken with financial assistance received under Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Programme within the stipulated five-year period as there won’t be any extension to the deadline, a senior MCC official has said.
Fatema Z Sumar, regional deputy vice president for Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America in the MCC’s Development of Compact Operation, said the MCC would neither extend the deadline nor add a single dollar of US taxpayers in the event the projects are not completed in time.
Tallking to the Kathmandu Post, Sumar, who is currently on a Nepal visit to observe the status of preparations, said the MCC would undertake only those projects that have a reasonable chance of being completed in time. “We will clear the road first by holding extensive consultations with all the stakeholders. Once we find that a project will face no obstruction, we will move ahead to implement the project,” she said.
There will be a three-year project development phase and five-year implementation period. Though Nepal and MCC have decided to invest in transport and energy sectors, no projects have been finalised yet. Projects including the upgradation of Pakali-Kakarbhitta section of the East West Highway, Pokhara-Butwal section of Siddhartha Highway, 400KV Hetauda-Naubise-Damauli-Nawalp-arasi Transmission Line are under MCC’s consideration, according to the Office of the Millennium Challenge Nepal.
Although it had also put the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track project among potential projects initially, it has been removed from the list. “We will not invest in the Fast Track Project under current circumstances,” Sumar confirmed.
According to the MCC, feasibility study of the potential projects will begin this spring. Once a project is finalised, the MCC board will have to approve it.
At a time when most of the infrastructure projects are facing delays due to delayed public procurement and other problems such as land acquisition and trouble with local stakeholders, MCC has said any risks will be assessed first and tackled before the project implementation begins. “There will be physical and technical oversight of the progress made in the projects,” said Sumar. Given the government procurement process being blamed for delays in project implementation, the projects to be developed
under MCC will not follow Nepal’s Public Procurement Act. According to Sumar, there is a procurement guideline of MCC, which will be followed.MCC has not yet revealed the exact amount Nepal will receive under the Compact Programme. Although
Nepali officials had been saying the country could receive aid in the range of $350 million to $700 million, Sumar clarified nothing has yet been decided yet.
Nepal was selected under MCC Compact Programme in December 2014 and the MCC board reselected Nepal for continuation of the programme in January 2015. The large five-year programme is given to a country that is committed to good governance, economic freedom and investment in the citizens.
Published: 03-03-2016 08:52