MCC pact only after public dialogue, House debate - Champika | Daily News


 

‘Unlikely to be signed before Election’:

MCC pact only after public dialogue, House debate - Champika

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) pact will only be signed after a vibrant public dialogue and after consulting Parliament and the Supreme Court, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka assured.

Speaking at a press conference at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo yesterday, Ranawaka said it was highly unlikely that it would be signed prior to the forthcoming Presidential Election.

“We are a democratic government. Now the MCC is a public document open for public dialogue. The ACSA agreement was signed secretly in 2007 by the then Rajapaksa administration even without informing Cabinet.

Unlike them, we do everything aboveboard. We will present the document in Parliament and then anybody can go before the court and seek a determination as to whether it is consistent with the Constitution and other laws of the country.

We don’t want to sign it in a hurry, but only after thorough discussion” he commented.

The minister however urged the people not to be carried away by the falsehood uttered by some groups with regard to the MCC grant. He stressed that no US military personnel would come to the country as a result of the MCC, and that the agreement specifically mentions that not a cent could be used for military purposes or any activity that goes against health or environment.

“The grant helps to improve transport, roads and land deed processing. These were long felt needs of the country. Who can object to widening the Avissawella-Pelmadulla road, Dambulla-Naula road or Beragala-Wellawaya road? Who can object to easing traffic in the Western Province? A central unit will be created with Police and other relevant units to manage traffic. These proposals were not made by the MCC, but the Road Development Authority, Transport Ministry, the Presidential Secretariat and the Magapolis Ministry. We needed this system a long time ago, but lack of money deterred us. The land deed process is no different to ‘Bimsaviya’. The Survey Department will be improved with technology to create an ‘E-file’,” he said.

Responding to a question by a journalist on the Bar Association’s objection to the MCC, Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera stressed that the Bar Association is politically biased and that its criticisms were to get political mileage out of the MCC.


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