The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) urged the Government of Sri Lanka to consider approving the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.
AMCHAM noted that the $480 million grant focuses on two key constraints to Sri Lanka’s economic growth identified by Harvard University’s Center for International Development: weak transport infrastructure and weak land administration practices. All of the projects and activities in the program were proposed by the Government of Sri Lanka years ago, in extensive consultation with line ministries and departments, business chambers and over a hundred individual firms, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, banks and local entrepreneurs.
The transport project, if implemented, has an estimated economic rate of return of 19%, while the land project has an estimated economic rate of return of 26%. Both these projects have a further intangible social impact.
The transport project will reduce traffic congestion in and out of Colombo; create safer, more reliable public transportation through modernizing the bus service; and lower the transport costs required to connect people and goods with markets through upgrades to existing interprovincial roads in the Central, Uva, and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. The land project will support existing, historically under-resourced Government initiatives to help the Government create an inventory of state lands; strengthen the land valuation department; increase tenure security for smallholders, women, and firms by scaling up Bim Saviya; and digitize deeds records so that they are less vulnerable to damage, theft, and loss.
Together, the two projects are projected to benefit 11.3 million people, which accounts for 54% of Sri Lanka’s population.
AmCham Sri Lanka says it is strongly committed towards uplifting the country’s economy and aiding such development that will benefit its membership and the larger business community.
In this light, AMCHAM called upon the Government of Sri Lanka to approve the grant, consider the advantageous impact the MCC will have on the country’s economy, and make this a priority before MCC’s Board of Directors meets on September 18, 2019.
The AMCHAM in Sri Lanka stands committed to implement our mandate which is to promote activities that would encourage and stimulate investment by US companies, support ongoing business operations of its members and encourage bilateral trade between the US and Sri Lanka.