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US State Department debunks two findings reported by Presidential Committee on MCC

ECONOMYNEXT – The United States State Department has quickly contradicted key findings announced by the Presidential Committee which examined the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC).

The Expert Committee which sat for six months and examined the agreement that the former government wanted to sign came up with several findings.

The first was that the former government has signed part of the agreement in two stages and had been granted a total of USD10 million, which has not been accounted for.

The Embassy in Colombo tweeted that “No MCC grant monies were ever transferred to or spent by the Government under the current $480 million grant. Funds for preparatory activities have been canceled or indefinitely postponed, pending the Government’s decision whether to proceed with the grant.”

The other assertion made by the committee headed by Economics Professor Lalithasiri Gunaruwan was that the committee examined the performance of the MCC in other countries.
In a press statement issued by the President’s office the Committee said they “enlightened the President on the current status of countries which had implemented the MCC. They said the fate of these countries is tragic.”

MCC in a tweet said that it had been ranked number one by international ranking groups as a bilateral donor.

“A USG development agency – again ranks #1 globally among bilateral donor agencies. MCC’s strong performance reflects its commitment to data transparency, fair & competitive procurements & rigorous monitoring & evaluation of poverty-reducing programs.”
The Presidential Committee also found that upon signing the MCC the government would have to enact a law to support its implementation and some provisions of the law would violate the sovereignty of Parliament.

During last year’s Presidential Election the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna made opposition to the MCC deal a major plank in its campaign.

SLPP leaders warned Sri Lankans the deal would mean the US would be granted total land rights for a swathe of Sri Lanka from the Western Province to Trincomalee and Southerners would need to get a visa from the USA to go on pilgrimage to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Gunaruwan’s report did not contain that point that the Rajapaksa campaign hammered into the electorate. (Colombo, June 26, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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