Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli defends Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement

Kathmandu, June 18

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli defended the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement signed with the United States of America.

Responding to lawmakers' queries in the National Assembly today, Oli said some people were biased against the MCC agreement.

"Those who are opposing the MCC have not understood the document. I urge them to go through the agreement and then comment on its contents,” the PM said.

He added some people were being misled by the rumour that American army would come to Nepal after the MCC agreement was ratified by the Parliament.

"Why are some people opposing the MCC? Are they worried the pact will spur development? Are they worried that Nepal will get grants now?" the PM wondered.

He said lawmakers must be responsible for their remarks. The PM said he would offer more details related to the MCC agreement when the issue came up for deliberation in the House.

The PM said he had never spoken against the people and the country in his 55 years of political life. The PM said, "When Nepal and India were signing the Mahakali deal, the then Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee asked us if everything was okay in the deal and if he could put his signature. Some friends told him that the deal was okay but later the same friends started opposing the deal," the PM said, without naming anyone.

The PM, who was formerly associated with the CPN-UML, was a staunch supporter of the Mahakali Treaty, but some other leaders of his party including CP Mainali and Bamdev Gautam were opposed to the deal. It was because of their differences on the Mahakali Treaty that Gautam and Mainali later split the party.

The PM said he had submitted a report 24 years ago on behalf of a commission and that report stated that Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani were Nepali territories.

The PM thanked the NA members for unanimously passing the constitution amendment bill.

"Both the Houses passed the bill unanimously and this reflects incredible national unity on issues of national importance. This shows that any attempt to do injustice against Nepal or divide Nepalis on national issues will not work," the PM added.

The PM said the government took the right decision to stem the threat of COVID-19, but the number of COVID-19 infected persons rose sharply in the country since a large number of people returning from India tested positive for the disease. "How could we guarantee that people coming from India would not test positive?" the PM asked.

The PM again claimed that Nepalis had better immunity to fight against COVID-19 without offering any scientific evidence to support his argument. He said people ridiculed him for offering tips to boost immunity. "Turmeric may be good for certain things but it may not be good for pregnant women and new mothers. When I say turmeric is good for health, it is only a general statement which cannot be true in all situations," the PM said.

He said some people were unnecessarily raising corruption slur against government authorities.

"This is the time to act, not the time to seek details of expenditure.

I won't embezzle government money and I won't let anybody embezzle government money. If anybody is found to be involved in corruption, they will face stringent punishment," the PM told the House.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 19, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.