By Lahiru Pothmulla
The United States is not operating a ‘special economic corridor’ in Sri Lanka as claimed by Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa, a spokesperson for the US Embassy said.
He had recently claimed that the US Government had released US$480 million to Sri Lanka to create a special economic corridor stretching from the Trincomalee Port to the Colombo Port to be operated by the US.
However, the US Embassy rejected the claim made by the MP and said the US$480 million was approved by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to promote economic growth in Sri Lanka.
“The MCC’s Board of Directors recently approved the MCC Sri Lanka Compact, which is a large-scale, five-year grant programme designed to promote economic growth compact for Sri Lanka that totals to more than USD480 million,” the spokesperson said.
She said the United States would not own, control, or in any way administer land in Sri Lanka under the MCC compact.
“The Sri Lankan Government will retain oversight and control of land and roads undergoing improvement as part of the MCC compact. The transport projects will modernise urban and rural transport infrastructure and networks, providing Sri Lankans with safe, reliable public transportation in addition to road improvements. The land projects will help enhance tenure security and tradability of land for smallholders, women and firms. The MMC compact does not include a so-called ‘economic corridor’,” the spokesperson said.
Quote -- The US will not own, control, or in any way administer land in Sri Lanka under the MCC compact. The SL Govt. will retain oversight and control of land and roads undergoing improvement as part of the MCC compact