Broad support needed on Lankan project for new US aid
A team of US officials visiting Colombo recently to discuss grant aid under a new programme called the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), stressed that any Sri Lankan project seeking aid should have the support of a broad section of the population.

"We will support a project that has the support of a broad section of the people. We will conduct a due diligence … we'll talk to NGOs. We will ensure that all people have an opportunity to participate in the (selection of the) local project,” David Nummy, an administrator from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) told reporters. He was responding to comments that there was criticism of the Regaining Sri Lanka programme - the basis on which the $4.5 billion donor aid was pledged - that it didn't take into account all the views of the people including farmers, fishermen and peasants.

The five-man team from MCC team was visiting Sri Lanka as part of a visit to 15 other countries who along with Sri Lanka are eligible for a new funding programme approved by the US Congress earlier this year.

Under this, the 16 countries are entitled to a total of $1billion this year followed by an addition $2.5 billion next year and $5 billion the year after and so on.

Compliance guidelines are strict and eligibility doesn't automatically mean all the 16 would get this grant aid. Projects from the eligible countries would be based on an evaluation of 16 key criteria including governance, accountability and corruption levels.

The new form of foreign assistance is a 50 percent increase from the annual US government development assistance programme with its main focus on raising economic growth and tackling poverty. The programme has been launched to address funding weaknesses in the past 50 years and lessons learnt by the US during this period.

"This is a unique chance for Sri Lanka to make use of this offer," said Nummy adding that Sri Lankan officials from the government and private sector were enthusiastic by the new programme. Other team officials said a country proposal could seek 100 percent funding for the project, be part funded or could be part of another project or an ongoing project. The project could also have counterpart funds from the receiving country.

Back to Top  Back to Business  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.