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Millennium Challenge US$480mn grant to Sri Lanka held up by President

ECONMYNEXT – A 480 million US dollar grant to Sri Lanka by the Millennium Challenge Corporation of America is held up as President Maithripala Sirisena has not given approval, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

MCC officials had warned that there is a board meeting scheduled for September and if cabinet does not clear the deal, money may be diverted to another country.

“The president has a different opinion on this,” Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo.

“We respect his views but as a government we are firm that we should sign it.

“There will be a board meeting (of the Millennium Challenge Corporation) in September. We are doing the best to get the final approval before that.”

“Even if we cannot sign in these months, we have told (MCC) that the new government (after elections) would like to sign it.”

MCC grant will be used to modernize traffic management, speed up transport between farming areas and export markets and bring in electronic tittles to stop land fraud and give co-ownership wives.

President Sirisena had also opposed extending military co-operation agreements with the US. (Colombo/Aug28/2019)

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