The government will not sign the MCC agreement as it is but will see the possibility of signing it if the four member expert committee recommends amendments to ensure the agreement does not pose any threat to the national security and the economy, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.
Minister Semasinghe added that under no circumstances, the government would agree to the politically motivated conditions contained in the draft of the MCC agreement despite the fact that the previous government accepted it in to at the tail end of its tenure.
Addressing a hurriedly convened news briefing at the Finance Ministry, Minister Semasinghe said the SLPP never said that a government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would never sign the MCC.
“Not President Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa or any other top leader of the SLPP said that we are fully opposed to the MCC. What they said was that we would not sign it with the current conditions and wanted to revisit it. The SLPP or the government’s policy is to revisit not only the MCC but ACSA and SOFA agreements also before taking a decision on the three agreements,” Minister Semasinghe stressed.
Commenting on the agreement signed by the government to lease out a plot of land with the extent three acres at the Galle face to Perennial Realities for US$ 250 million, Minister Semasinghe said it was not a sell out in anyway as the UNP led opposition tries to make out but a leasing of the land.
“The negotiations were initiated by the yahapalana government in 2014 but failed whe various issued cropped up. We signed the lease agreement on extremely beneficial terms and US$ 250 million is a direct foreign investment,” he added.
Minister Semasinghe emphasized that President Rajapaksa or Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would not have agreed to the leasing of the land if it is detrimental to the national interests. Besides, the US4 250 million is extremely necessary to improve Sri Lanka’s asset base.