BASL urges Govt. not to rush into signing MCC agreement

Wednesday, 6 November 2019 00:43 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Urges PM to honour undertaking given to BASL to takes observations of the Bar into consideration before signing agreement
  • Says Finance Ministry has no legal authority to sign MCC Agreement
  • Proposed agreement goes much beyond simple loan/grant, contains clause dealing with land and jurisdiction
  • Urges President to notify MCC and US Govt. agreement would be rescinded if signing done without placing the Agreement before Parliament

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday urged the Government not to rush into signing the Compact Agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), USA and called upon Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to honour the undertaking given to BASL in July/August this year that the agreement would not be signed without taking into consideration the observations of the Bar.

BASL President Kalinga Indatissa, PC, in a statement said it is the Association’s opinion that the Finance Ministry has no legal authority to sign the MCC Agreement, which contains many more matters other than a simple agreement to borrow money from the lender.

“As explained to the Prime Minister by the BASL in August 2019, the proposed agreement goes much beyond a simple loan/ rant, and contains many clauses dealing with land and jurisdiction. These are matters clearly outside the purview of the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet could not have authorised the Minister of Finance to proceed with the MCC,” the statement said.

Indatissa said it is rather unfortunate that the basic concepts of Governance such as collective responsibility and Constitutional assignment of subjects are not considered at all in arriving at such decisions, which have a serious impact on the sovereignty of the Nation.

The statement added that it is totally misleading for certain persons holding responsible positions to maintain that the MCC will be placed before Parliament after it is signed.

“Such a course of action is meaningless, and once signed, the Agreement will have a binding effect. We call upon the Prime Minister, who is a very senior politician, to refrain from proceeding with this move unless sufficient discussion takes place,” BASL said. The Association also urged the President to immediately inform the MCC and the US Government that even if the Agreement is signed it would be rescinded with immediate effect if the signing is done without placing the Agreement before Parliament.