Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Sri Lanka says ‘positive news’ coming from IMF on $2.9 billion package

By Uditha Jayasinghe

COLOMBO (Reuters) -Sri Lanka is on the verge of getting “very positive news” from the International Monetary Fund on a $2.9 billion programme, a government minister said on Tuesday, while a senior source said it had also won debt restructuring support from China.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said he would deliver a special statement in parliament on Tuesday to “explain to the nation the current state of the economy and progress on IMF negotiations”.

The island nation of 22 million is struggling with its worst economic crisis in more than seven decades.

“Sri Lanka is on the verge of getting very positive news from the IMF,” the junior finance minister, Shehan Semasinghe, told parliament.

“The IMF programme is essential for us and Sri Lanka has worked very hard since last September to secure it.”

A senior Sri Lankan government official said the Export-Import Bank of China had written to the IMF supporting Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring programme, which is critical to securing final approval for the loan.

“It is our expectation that the IMF will consider all the prior actions by Sri Lanka and these financing assurances favourably and approve the programme soon,” said the source, declining to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Tuesday that the country would continue to participate in the settlement of international debt problems in a constructive manner.

Responding to a question on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting in Beijing, Qin also said that China should be the last to be accused of causing debt traps in other countries and called on other parties to share the burden.

(Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru and Uditha Jayasinghe in Colombo; Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Raju Gopalakrishnan)


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