US’ Millennium Challenge Corp. declares Sri Lanka eligible for assistance

Friday, 18 December 2015 00:51 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


by Charumini de Silva

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva yesterday said that Sri Lanka was selected as a country eligible for assistance from fiscal year 2016 at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) held in Washington DC.

He said this was recognition of the progress made by Sri Lanka and they would encourage an enduring engagement and partnership with the MCC with the objective of reaping benefits for all the people in the country. 

“The relationship with US and Sri Lanka is getting stronger and we have had many meetings and discussions with the high level Government officials over the past few months,” he said at a luncheon meeting held yesterday.

According to reports, Chief Executive Officer of the MCC, Dana J. Hyde conveyed the decision of the Board to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday evening.

Created by the U.S. Congress in 2004 with strong bipartisan support, the MCC is an innovative U.S. foreign assistance agency that operates on the principle of delivering assistance on the basis of a long-term consultative partnership with individual countries. The criteria for consideration in entering a partnership include a country’s commitment to good governance, economic freedom and investment in citizens.

A MCC statement said: “In keeping with the Government’s vision for good governance, strengthening the rule of law, and achieving reconciliation, development, durable peace and prosperity for all, the government of Sri Lanka will work to foster an enduring engagement and partnership with the MCC with the objective of reaping benefits for all the people in the country.”

“The selection of Sri Lanka as an eligible country for long-term partnership with the MCC is a demonstration of recognition of the progress made by Sri Lanka since January 2015 under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,” it added.

At the AMCHAM Forum sharing comments on the Importance of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to Sri Lanka, Dr. de Silva said that it is critical to agree on implementing certain reforms in order to get to the next level of development.

“If we are serious about being a global player, creating a highly competitive social market economy, then we have to do these reforms. After Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has mentioned the TPP in his policy statement, it has come to the discussion table already, people like us have been pushing this for some time now,” he noted.

Noting that it is a humongous challenge for the Government he said that countries like Vietnam have successfully overcome those obstacles was due to their courage, political will and the strength to implement reforms.

“However, in Sri Lanka even to implement a little reform in pension and subsidies our very liberal professionals are ganging up on us. Thus, it is time we do it or we stick around in this neighbourhood,” he said.