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MCC CEO keen on pushing controversial compact

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Newly sworn-in Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Sean Cairncross says the agency is committed to advancing the proposed USD 480 million compact.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe dated 3 July that was released by the Prime Minister’s Office today (9 July), Cairncross refers to the compact as an agreement that the governments of Sri Lanka and the United States developed jointly to “address major constraints in the Sri Lankan economy related to transport and administration.”

“We are eager for the compact to move forward in a timely manner at this crucial stage. I look forward to your continued leadership to advance our shared goal of promoting growth and reducing poverty for the Sri Lankan people,” he writes.

The MCC compact, along with the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) already signed with the US government, has generated much controversy over the past few weeks, with critics accusing the government of a lack of transparency.

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera has been at the forefront of the Government’s defence of the agreements, charging that Opposition claims of the agreements being a threat to the island nation’s sovereignty are mere political theatrics.

Last week, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce issued a statement seeking “enhanced transparency” on the current status of the agreements including the MCC compact. The Prime Minister’s Office challenged this statement on Sunday, insinuating that it was a politically motivated one.