Sri Lanka government is set to commence crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today Washington DC, USA.
Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ali Sabri, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, & Secretary to the Ministry of Finance K.M.M Siriwardana is to attend the meetings with the IMF.
According to the Ministry of Finance the first round of talks will go on until the 24th of April.
Technical-level discussions with IMF officials took place online during the last six days as per the Finance Ministry.
Minister Ali Sabry announced last week that Sri Lanka will seek about USD 4 Billion in aid from the IMF.
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“We need immediate emergency funding to get Sri Lanka back on track,” Sabry said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday, while pegging the funding need this year at between $3-$4 billion. “Our appeal to them is to release it as soon as possible.”
Political turmoil at home, with street protests by citizens calling for the ouster of Rajapaksa only make the job of convincing the IMF to lend money more difficult.
The $81 billion economy faced $8.6 billionworth of debt obligations this year before it suspended payments on foreign loans to preserve cash to pay for essential food and fuel imports.
The last time IMF extended help to Sri Lanka in 2016, the loan was capped at $1.5 billion and the program was prematurely terminated after disbursing $1.3 billion. That was when the economy was growing at about 5% and tourism accounted for a similar percent of gross domestic product.
In the absence of revenue from tourism, Sri Lanka has in recent times turned to countries including China and India for support amid a weak foreign-reserves position. The nation is also in talks with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for support, Sabry said.