Local experts explain insights on $480 m MCC compact projects | Sunday Observer

Local experts explain insights on $480 m MCC compact projects

The Advocata Institute hosted a public forum on the theme ‘MCC - Sri Lanka Compact - Facts vs Fiction’ last week, with the aim of separating fact from fiction around this hotly debated topic.

Since 2015, Sri Lanka was engaged in a competitive selection process for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant.

In April 2019, Sri Lanka was awarded a grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for USD 480 million. Since the awarding of the Compact, concerns around the agreement had gone unaddressed. To help provide a public platform to address these concerns, The Advocata Institute convened an open discussion with experts involved in designing the projects for the MCC Compact, Prof. Amal Kumarage (Head of the Department of Transport and Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa); Dr. Saman Widanapathiranage (Deputy Director, Highway Designs at the Road Development Authority (RDA) and Sarath Jayatilaka (former Deputy Surveyor General); MCC representatives, Ms. Jenner Endleman (Sri Lanka Resident Country Director, Millennium Challenge Corporation) and the Government, Dr Jagath Munasinghe (Chairman, Urban Development Authority).

Prof. Amal Kumarage said that by 2030, the number of vehicles on our roads will triple and it is crucial for our transport system to reflect this.

Deputy Director, Highway Designs at the RDA, Dr. Saman Widanapathiranage discussed the Advanced Traffic Management System component in the Transport Project. He said how average speed in Colombo will reduce to 10 kmph by 2030, communicating the urgency of improving the city’s traffic management.

Sarath Jayatilaka (former Deputy Surveyor General) emphasised the importance of developing a State Land Bank to improve land administration policies.

Joining the Q&A, MCC Sri Lanka Resident Country Director Jenner Endleman answered some concerns around the compact. To the question of whether the MCC Compact is linked to military agreements, she answered that MCC has no relation to ACSA or SOFA and that the MCC Compact was ready for signing before the renewal of these military agreements. Another question posed was why the Compact was not available in the public domain and that she stated that it is the MCC’s policy to not share the document prior to it being signed by the recipient government. However, she urged concerned citizens to reach out to the Government to release these documents.

“In our 15 year history, we’ve never had a situation where an eligible country has come to us and proposed a grant, our board has accepted it, and that same partner country has not approved it,” said Endleman answering questions from the audience.

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