Nov 08, Colombo: The Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. RHS Samaratunga said that there are many false propaganda about the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement and that if the US $ 480 million grant (approximately Rs. 86 billion ) is not received, the losses will be to Sri Lanka and not to the United States.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Ministry of Finance Friday (08), the Treasury Secretary said the politicians have made false, irrational and malicious statements over the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Agreement in order to gain political advantage.
"Under the MCC agreement we get a grant, not a loan Sri Lanka does not need to pay it back. It's U.S. taxpayers' money. Therefore, the US should have a good understanding of how the Government of Sri Lanka is spending that money for the welfare of the people of Sri Lanka. For this purpose, an institution such as the Mahaweli Development Board or the Gal Oya Development Board should be set up to manage the way the money is spent on the project. We have to do that with the MCC agreement and the agreement also allows it."
Dr. Samaratunga explained that both parties to the Agreement may withdraw from the Agreement without a reason at any time and in writing 30 days in advance. It is noted in the agreement.
The Treasury Secretary urged all interested parties to read the agreement carefully. "The Finance Ministry has made the agreement public. Some parties say the agreement states that lands will be given for Rs. 180. Some officials say that the US is preparing to build military bases on these lands, endangering Sri Lanka's security. There is no such pacts in this Agreement."
Dr. Samaratunga explained that the agreement is aimed at addressing two issues that have hampered Sri Lanka's economic growth.
The agreement consists of two parts: the transportation project and the land project. This project has been designed with the aim to strengthen Sri Lanka's economic growth making progress and reduce poverty.
"This project is very important for economic growth and poverty reduction. I have a question as to who doesn't want this project. This is a donation from the US and a huge project. It benefits the people of Sri Lanka. I have a question as to who says no to that."
Dr. Samaratunga said the property-related documents, particularly land deeds, are still at a poor level. "They are very poorly maintained.
Those documents are very likely to be stolen, burned, altered, and defrauded. MCC agreement provide funds to address those issues."
With MCC funds these documents will be scanned, digitized and computerized, the Treasury Secretary added.