The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce yesterday urged the government to be more transparent on the proposed Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement with the United States government and to ensure to follow the due process when entering such agreements.
Expressing its concern, the country’s premier business chamber said there is increasing levels of speculation among its membership and society at large about the proposed SOFA
“…the Ceylon Chamber requests the Government of Sri Lanka to provide an enhanced level of transparency with respect to these agreements and their potential consequences and also to clarify the exact position with regards to the current status of the negotiations and/or execution of
It would also add value to provide comfort to key stakeholders and the public at large, that due process, including the securing of policy and legislative approvals, has and will be followed with respect to the processing and execution of these agreements.
While it is inevitable that differences in opinion will prevail, compliance with due process, combined with a transparent process encompassing stakeholder consultation, will ensure that the national interest is protected,” a Ceylon Chamber statement said. “A commitment to transparency by all parties will ensure a fair and balanced discussion among the relevant stakeholders on the merits of Sri Lanka moving forward with these agreements,” it added.
A vocal proponent of these agreements, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had blamed the Opposition for fear-mongering against the signing of the agreements and had warned that it could affect the relations between the two countries. The US remains Sri Lanka’s largest export partner. However, the recent newspaper reports suggested that the proposed agreements would impinge on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.