By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka has been placed on the agenda for the next Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board meeting scheduled for December 15.
Last year, the Board of Directors of MCC approved a five-year, US$ 480 million Compact with the Government of Sri Lanka aimed at reducing poverty through economic growth.
However, the current government, which came into power at the end of last year, delayed the signing of the Compact and appointed a committee to review it.
The committee, in its final report that was presented to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in June, claimed that the Compact contained many harmful elements to the country’s sovereignty.
Every MCC candidate country receives a scorecard assessing performance in three policy categories—Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom— on an annual basis.
Sri Lanka currently remains as a candidate for MCC in the lower middle-income category for 2021. However, the country’s candidacy for 2021 is not fully cleared.
“Funds appropriated by the SFOAA for assistance for the Central Government of Sri Lanka may be made available only if the Secretary of State makes certain certifications regarding action taken by the Government of Sri Lanka and reports to the Committees on Appropriations. If this certification is not issued, Sri Lanka will not be a candidate country for FY 2021,” MCC stated in its website.
Further, in the latest 2021 scorecard, Sri Lanka’s score in Economic Freedom and Ruling Justly in policy categories had declined compared to the 2019 scorecard.
In the upcoming Board meeting, the directors are also expected to discuss 2021 Compact eligibility and selection process.