(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Cabinet has approved the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant of US$ 480 million.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had submitted a proposal on the grant to the cabinet today and it was approved.
Earlier, President Maithripala Sirisena had said that he will not approve the deal after the main opposition had raised concerns over the agreement.
There had been concerns that under the proposed MCC deal the US will gain control over land in Sri Lanka. The US rejected the claims.
The Finance Ministry said today that the Sri Lankan Government has the option of amending the identified projects even after the signing of the Agreement.
Sri Lanka is the 37th recipient of such grant funds from the people of United States of America.
“The Minister of Finance will sign the agreement in the near future as it was confirmed by the Cabinet today, the implementation will begin in early 2020,” the Finance Ministry said.
The Finance Ministry said that this was a great victory for the Government and augurs well for the future.
Sri Lanka began negotiation with MCC in 2001 at the direction of Ranil Wickremesinghe, the then Prime Minister.
MCC negotiations were led by the Ministry of Finance and the MCC compact developed and finalized by the Compact Development Team of the Prime Minister’s office.
The Compact funding, if signed, will support economic growth in Sri Lanka through assistance in the transport and land sectors.
Under this grant, Sri Lanka will receive USD 480 million for 03 main projects to be completed within a period of 5 years i.e. a special Transport Development Program covering the Colombo Metropolitan area to reduce the traffic congestion by improving flow rate, reduce travel time, reduce traffic emission and reduce accidents combined with the Bus Transport Service Modernization program including private and public sector transport service.
Under transport development, improving 131 KM road network on the Central Ring Road connecting Sabaragamuwa, Uva, Eastern, North Central and Wayamba Provinces to the Colombo markets and export hubs.
Further, improvement of Land Administration process also will be done in 08 districts, improving the land valuation system, upgrading 10 Land Registries and preparation of Parcel Fabric Map of all state and private land to facilitate the activities of the Survey Department.