If we can benefit from MCC we should not refuse it

If we can benefit from MCC we should not refuse it : Dullas Alahapperuma

by Staff Writer 12-12-2019 | 10:04 PM
COLOMBO (News 1st) - The Millenium Challenge Corporation Compact was discussed at the cabinet media briefing today. Meanwhile, intellectuals and professionals have pointed out several concerns regarding the MCC. According to the Daily FT, the Alliance for Economic Democracy says several key issues regarding the proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact, are not adequately represented in public discussion. The movement says it is, however, crucial to the well being and security of people in Sri Lanka. AED says MCC's constraints analysis for Sri Lanka was drafted in the US without engaging national universities, academics and the interests of local people and it misidentifies the island's binding constraints to growth. The AED strongly warns signing MCC will ensnare Sri Lanka in a costly geopolitical conflict between the US and China and endanger our sovereignty. These concerns have been endorsed by a collective of 53 individuals and organizations in the country. The Millenium Challenge Corporation, better known as MCC, has pledged to financially assist Sri Lanka to develop the transport system and reform of Land Laws. Meanwhile, it was reported today, that the cabinet had approved an expeditious Program for the Management of Government-owned Lands. The proposal for cabinet approval was presented by Minister S.M.Chandrasena. The program incorporates 11 projects including the issuance of title certificates, formalizing the government land database, publishing a new edition of road maps and the preparations of land guidelines. The Cabinet of Ministers decided to appoint a committee to design a simple and easy payment system to collect the taxes on leased properties. Lakmali Hemachandra, Alliance for Economic Democracy: "The MCC constant analysis designed by The Millenium Challenge Corporation and a group from the ministry of finance, analyses and identifies the factors that hinder economic development in the country. One such factor identified is the 50-acre land limit and the legal limits on plot size. It further adds that land ownership lacks security. They also say local investors when compared with foreign investors, are more informed of the land rules in Sri Lanka and this is another obstruction. However, nowhere does it state, farmers not having ownership of lands is an obstruction to the economic development of our country. They say one thing to the public, and say another to the MCC. Things that the public would like to hear are told to the general public, and things that the MCC likes to hear are told to the MCC. I think this was what the former government did, and in my view what the present government is attempting to do." Journalist: Four weeks ago, you and your team were fed up with the MCC. But it seems you are preparing to sign the compact in the future. Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Education and Sports noted that he believes if the country can benefit from it, after reviewing and analyzing this compact, they should not refuse it. He added that they could further talk about it if the government makes an official announcement in this regard. Journalist: You do not affirm the government will not sign this agreement. Dullas Alahapperuma responded that they would not agree to anything that will threaten our country's national security or sovereignty. Journalist: So if anything extraordinary takes place, will the agreement be presented in parliament? Dullas Alahapperuma responded that it would and they would provide copies to the media so they can analyze this. Meanwhile, UNP MP Mujibur Rahuman noted that the government is entitled to clarify their stance on the MCC. He added that the public should know whether the government will sign or put an end to the MCC agreement. "There is no use in assigning the pawns of the government to respond to these questions" he added.