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Query on US agreements in public interest: CCC


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 11 July 2019 01:30


 

  • CCC writes to PM Secy
  • Says will always be non-partisan entity focused on public interest
  • Insists call for transparency only to shrink space for misinformation
  • Appreciates PM Office response, acknowledges interaction with MCC
  • Believes decision to table MCC agreement before P’ment will provide public with complete details

 

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), responding to the Prime Minister’s Secretary yesterday, said their queries on US agreements were only to reduce speculation, and assured that communications of the private sector body will be non-partisan and aimed at promoting national interest.

The letter, signed by CCC Chairman Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, was addressed to Prime Minister’s Secretary E.M.S.B. Ekanayake. The letter comes after Ekanayake on Sunday issued a strongly-worded letter to the CCC, saying there was no SoFA agreement presented to Cabinet by the Defence Ministry Secretary, and expressing surprise that the CCC would request for transparency on the $480 million grant by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), even though the Chamber has been part of consultations since April 2016. The letter from the Prime Minister’s Office also said it regretted that the CCC had become politicised, and was aligning itself with Opposition agendas.

In response, the CCC said it was appreciative of Government efforts to present the MCC grant agreement to Parliament, and insisted that it had issued a statement requesting for transparency in the sole interest of fighting misinformation.

“While being appreciative of this confirmation, the Chamber concurs that the MCC project office in Colombo, in collaboration with the Chamber, had on several occasions solicited private sector inputs with respect to the development projects to be funded through the MCC grant. The assurance of the Government that the complete agreement will be placed before Parliament will now provide complete information, inclusive of the conditions, if any, applicable to the grant,” the letter, seen by the Daily FT, said.

“The communication dated 3 July 2019 from the Board of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was with the sole intent of obviating the space for misinformation and speculation,” it added.

The Chamber also defended its original statement, insisting that the call for transparency was entirely in public interest, and the CCC will remain a non-partisan entity. “The Board of the Chamber also wishes to state that communications from the Chamber have been, and will always be, non-partisan and sincerely reflective of the imperatives that need to be addressed in the greater national interest.”

“It is duly noted that your letter of 6 July addressed to the Chairman of the Chamber has been released to the media, and accordingly that the information provided by you on the captioned subject has been made available to the public already. Please note therefore that the Chamber will not be releasing this communication to the media.”

 

PM tells P’ment no SOFA, but discussions ongoing


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