Sep 23, 2019

Sri Lanka can get Millennium Challenge grant: not linked to defence deals

A 480 million US dollar grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation was to be signed by Sri Lanka before defence related agreements with the US and there is no link between them, an official said.

The MCC grant was to be signed in December 2018 and did not coincide with the renewal dates for two longstanding defence agreements, Jenner Edelman, Country Director for MCC in Sri Lanka said.

“That is not true. This (MCC) program was developed over a period of several years,” Edelman said speaking at a forum organized by Advocata Institute, a Colombo-based think tank. “

“We had a signing date December 14th. The President was going to sign it.”

“And it was only in the spring that these renewals were proposed. They had nothing to do with each other and the contract was finalized and ready for signature long before that.”

She said that signing the MCC agreement was postponed due to the political crisis which erupted in late-October.

Edelmen was responding to a query from the audience that there was strong opinion that the US was giving the grant as a gift, if the two defence agreements were signed.

(Economy Next)