The Sri Lankan government will retain the option to amend the identified projects in the US $ 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact even after the signing of the agreement, the Finance Ministry said.
The Cabinet of Ministers this week authorised Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to sign the Compact agreement with the MCC on behalf of the Sri Lankan government ending months of uncertainty over the grant.
Samaraweera is expected to sign the agreement in the near future with the implementation of the Compact is scheduled to begin in early 2020, a Finance Ministry statement said.
This Compact consists of grant funds for traffic management in the Colombo district, islandwide road construction and land administration improvements covering the whole country.
The majority of funds, US $ 350 million, have been proposed to be allocated for transport projects, which include advanced traffic management system activity, bus transport service modernisation activity and central ring road network activity.
These projects are aimed at reducing longer commutes to Colombo while enhancing public transport facilities.
In terms of other projects, US $ 67.3 million is proposed to be allocated to land projects consisting of five activities that seek to improve access to private and state land, provide a more uniform valuation of land and assist the government in improving the land policy and governance framework, under which land is managed and administered.
A key component of the land projects is to develop a parcel fabric map that covers up to 28 percent of the land area of Sri Lanka, focused on seven districts in the Central, North Western, North Central and Eastern provinces.
Eventually, this is expected to help the government to identify which state lands are underutilised and available for investment and which lands are in active use.
The projects under the proposed Compact have been developed by the Sri Lankan government officials of the line ministries and departments with consultation with private sector and civil society based on the needs of the country.
Once the Compact is signed between the MCC and Sri Lanka, the government is expected to establish a local entity staffed by Sri Lankans to coordinate with ministries and departments during the project implementation period.
The entity will be accountable to a Sri Lankan board of directors comprised of eight government officials and three representatives from the private sector and civil society.
Sri Lanka is the 37th recipient of such grant funds from the people of the United States of America.
Sri Lanka began negotiation with the MCC in as far back as 2001, on the direction of then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The MCC negotiations were led by the Finance Ministry and the Compact was developed and finalised by the Compact Development Team of the Prime