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Srilanka: Govt. not officially informed of inability to approve IMF funding: Minister

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had not officially informed the Government of any issue about the approval of funding to Sri Lanka due to China’s moratorium being insufficient, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday.

He told a news conference at the Government Information Department that discussions with creditors right now were positive and expressed hope that the IMF approval would be received shortly. Responding to a question regarding media reports that the IMF had said that China’s offer to Sri Lanka of a two-year moratorium was not sufficient to approve a funding programme for Sri Lanka, the Minister said the IMF had not officially informed the Government of any such development.

The Minister said Sri Lanka sought IMF assistance very late and the country was at a very weak stage when the IMF assistance was sought.

“We have sought IMF assistance on 16 occasions earlier. On every occasion, we were at a better stage than on this occasion. We are at a positive stage in the process to obtain an IMF bail-out at present. We will be able to get the approval very shortly,” he said.

The Minister said the government was in discussion with bi-lateral creditors on restructuring debts such as on the possibility of obtaining a moratorium, a ‘haircut’ or reducing the interest.

“When bilateral loans are restructured in whatever manner, the government of that country has to bear the cost and people of that country have to make some contribution. We also need to show that we are also making some contribution by adhering to tight policies and taxes,” he said.

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