Nepal has become eligible for the 2014 Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) assistance.
Today, officials of the US Embassy in Kathmandu handed over the MCC scorecard to finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi at his office.
Out of the 20 indicators under three categories – economic freedom, investing in people and ruling justly – the country has surpassed the low-income category (LIC) median in 14 indicators and scored 70 per cent, the ministry said, adding that the score has made Nepal eligible for 2014 threshold programmes. "But six indicators – including health expenditure, trade policy, girls’ primary education completion rate, gender equality in economy and rule of law – are still marginally and technically down the median, which can definitely be improved in the year 2015."
Finance secretary, on the occasion, requested the US delegation for early conclusion of the ongoing constraints analysis exercise to enable the team to come up with 'Threshold programme' by the end of March, which could help link it with the budget of next fiscal year 2014-15.
Michael B Goldman from the Economic and Political Department of the US Embassy thanking the ministry assured to shorten the time frame as far as possible. "Though Nepal has become eligible for Threshold Programmes for the year 2014, six indicators are still marginally and technically down the median, which can definitely be improved in the year 2015 and help upgrade to the 'Compact programme', the multi-year programme targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth in MCC eligible country," he said.
At a meeting with US ambassador to Nepal Peter W Bodde last month, finance minister Shankar Prasad Koirala had also asked the US government to extend financial support to Nepal also through the MCC – the US agency fighting global poverty – that forms partnerships with some of the world's poorest countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and investments in their citizens.
The MCC board is chaired by the US Foreign Secretary John Kerry and represented by Treasury Secretary, the US Trade Representative and other US government officials and experts.Though, MCC is yet to announce how much assistance Nepal would get under the Threshold Programme, it is expected that the country would receive somewhere around $40 million to $50 million.