Final decision on MCC deal with Sri Lanka after Election – US Ambassador

A decision on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement will be taken after the Parliamentary election in August, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz said.

In an online discussion with a group of journalists, the Ambassador said that the US respects President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to review the grant proposal.

She said that the agreement remained stalled following the Constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka in 2018 and with the Government now in a transition period the US is awaiting some of that transition to complete with the Parliamentary election.  The Ambassador said that the grant focuses on transportation and land administration.

“As a grant agreement, it’s a fixed term grant for five years to execute the projects that are part of the grant. It doesn’t have a life beyond that time frame,” she noted.

The Ambassador also said that there needs to be accountability when spending such money and that is why there is a framework.

The cabinet had decided in February that Sri Lanka will not sign the US$ 480 million MCC agreement in its current form.

Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena had said at the time that a committee appointed by the Government to review the agreement had submitted its recommendations, which was presented to the cabinet.

Gunawardena said the committee had found that some clauses in the agreement are harmful to Sri Lanka’s Constitution and National security.

The committee had proposed that the agreement not be signed in its current form and instead be amended and submitted to the public and Parliament for it to be considered.

(Colombo Gazette)

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