False news on ACSA, SOFA will hinder development projects

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The rumors and false news spread by certain political representatives at the moment regarding the agreements that are to be signed with America will vitally affect the operation of them and would in turn hinder the development of the nation, Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday in Colombo.

“The Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA) and Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) are not new agreements but we only have to renew them. These agreements were signed in 2007 and 1997 respectively. However, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement which was not able to be signed earlier due to the political issues that aroused, is a new agreement which will be signed as soon as possible,” he said.

The Minister stressed the fact that through the MCC agreement, Sri Lanka will be able to obtain a grant of USD 480 million which could be used to carry out projects spanning for five years.

The government has planned to spend USD 50 million to modernize the bus transport, USD 140 million to develop the delivery of agricultural products, USD 100 million to develop the transport industry and the rest to set up a Land Ownership Office and to deal with land related issues.

Been a middle income country, grants are not easily rewarded to Sri Lanka, but due to the cordial relationship between the two countries America was generous enough to provide this. America is the single biggest trading partner of the country which accounts for exports over USD 3,000 million out of a total of USD 11,666 million. Also in order to make Sri Lanka a technology hub in the Indian Ocean, the technology in America needs to be shared. Thus the trade relations between the two countries are crucial and he said that there is a high chance that fake news against America would disrupt these and ultimately it is the general public that will be affected.

“Due to the commitment of the government, Sri Lanka was able to regain the global support, but if political conflicts of this kind develop then the entire nation would face the loss,” he added.

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