ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will address issues that is holding back disbursement of a grant running into several hundred million dollars from USA’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Harsha de Silva said.
De Silva, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam had met Fatema Sumar and Caroline Nguyen of the MCC along with Sri Lanka coordinator Nilan Fernando in Washington.
"We discussed at length the issues we need to address to process the project at the earliest. I will take steps to expedite it," De Silva said in a facebook.com post.
"This is a grant to the Sri Lankan people by the American people. The biggest grant ever by any country!"
In a 2017 scorecard, MCC said Sri Lanka had a high score on immunization, child health, girls secondary education enrolment rate and natural resource protection.
But Sri Lanka was weak on primary education spending, health, land rights and access.
Critics point out that the new administration has slapped a 15 percent tax on sick people who try to heal themselves outside the state-funded system by going to private providers and imposed retrospective taxes on business, some of whom had connections to the opposition.
The last regime has expropriated private businesses. There are currently proposals to expropriate and drive people out of land which are prone to flooding.
The actions are in sharp contrast to the island’s former colonial rulers who built bunds to protect some low lying lands from flooding.
Sri Lanka’s rulers have also tried to prevent people who owned coastal land who were hit by a tsunami in 2004 from re-building. (Colombo/June11/2017)