The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement was drafted with the consent of the Attorney General and would be presented in parliament, the Finance Ministry said today.
It said the whole process and the final agreements were done under the guidance of the Attorney General and well within the legal framework.
It said in a statement that final negotiations on the compact were conducted in October 2018 between the MCC and a Cabinet approved GoSL delegation which consisted of officials from the relevant ministries and government agencies for implementing the selected projects including a representative from the Attorney General’s Department.
“The Attorney General is in the opinion that agreements are in order and there exists no legal impediment to executing the same. A Cabinet memorandum along with the final drafts of the agreements was submitted on 31.05.2019 to the Cabinet of ministers. The Cabinet appointed a committee for further discussions of the matters in detail and subsequently, the Ministry of Finance submitted the Cabinet memorandum dated 05.07.2019 seeking the approval of the Cabinet of ministers for signing the compact agreement and the programme implementation agreement. The Cabinet of ministers has granted its approval for signing above agreements on 29.10.2019,” the statement added.
The Ministry said the compact agreement and the programme implementation agreement would be submitted to and enacted by the Parliament of Sri Lanka once it was signed and before its entry into force and would be published in the Government Gazette before being submitted to parliament.
“The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a bilateral United States Foreign Aid Agency, established by the United States Congress in 2004, applying a new philosophy towards foreign aid. It provides time-limited grants and assistance to developing countries that meet the rigorous standard for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting democratic rights. On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), the MCC undertook a “constraints to economic growth analysis” in the year 2016. MCC and the GOSL subsequently decided to focus on the land and transport sectors, which were identified as binding constraints to growth. The constraints analysis concluded that traffic congestion in the Colombo Metropolitan Region, poor transport connectivity between provinces, and weakness in land administration constrain economic growth. Accordingly, the MCC agreed to grant USD 480 million for financing the above projects,” it said.