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IMF Envoy To Visit Sri Lanka Soon, Says Central Bank Governor

Sri Lanka's Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, "We will be reaching out to the bilateral and commercial creditors once we reach the overall debt targets and the staff-level agreement"

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Sri Lanka: The island nation of Sri Lanka, currently teetering on the edge of economic and political crisis, seems to have made “good progress” with the IMF for a bailout package, the Central Bank Governor said on Thursday, indicating that a VIP delegation of the Washington-based lender is expected to arrive at the end of this month to conduct “staff-level agreement”.

Sri Lanka, now suffering for many months under the pressure of political anarchy, has witnessed the worst period of an economic crisis in decades, which has subsequently led to severe shortages of food grain, fuel and other essential items in the country.

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Sri Lankans have also been mortified by the ravaging scenes of the political scene in recent times, following widespread mass protests that finally forces President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign from his post while abroad.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe spoke to news portal news first.lk where he reportedly said, “The IMF programme is making good progress, and an IMF mission is planning to visit Sri Lanka towards the end of this month to reach a staff-level agreement on a policy package”.

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Weerasinghe also indicated that once the specified “staff-level agreement” is already settled with the IMF, Sri Lanka will have to engage with its creditors on debt restructuring to get the country back on its tracks, the report said.

We will be reaching out to the bilateral and commercial creditors once we reach the overall debt targets and the staff-level agreement,” he added.

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As per numbers and statistics, the country requires $5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its citizens, who have long been flailing under the pressure of long queues at gas stations, worsening shortages of essential commodities and frequent power cuts.

The island nation currently owes $51 billion in foreign debt, of which $28 billion must be paid by 2027.

Colombo Consumer Price index revealed that the inflation rate has surged to 60.8 per cent in July, up from 54.6 per cent in June, as food grains and fuel, the two most essential items needed for human subsistence, continue to be rare commodities amid dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

The IMF plan was already decided by Sri Lanka’s newly-appointed president and former leader Rajapaksa’s ally, Ranil Wickremesinghe, way early back in July. However, the current political turmoil in the country compelled the president to postpone the meeting to the end of August.

Wickremesinghe was elected the nation’s leader last month after his predecessor, Rajapaksa, fled to Singapore after enraged mobs of protesters broke into his official residence and even occupied several official government buildings.

Even Wickremesinghe witnessed the irate disgust of angry Sri Lankans after anti-government protesters set his private residence at Cambridge Place on fire.

Also Read: Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Declares Emergency, Curfew Imposed in Western Province

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