Sri Lanka: IMF to conduct bailout review in September

Finance min says they have fulfilled all 9 conditions set by IMF

Sri Lanka civil unrest (File) A protester outside president Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office in Colombo | AP

The IMF will conduct the first review of the $2.9 billion bailout to Sri Lanka from September 11-19, state minister of finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said on Saturday and declared that the country has successfully fulfilled the nine conditions set by the global lender.

Sri Lanka was hit by its worst economic crisis in history when the country's foreign exchange reserves fell to a critical low and the public came out on the streets to protest the fuel, fertilisers as well as essential commodities shortage.

The country has to finalise its external and domestic debt restructuring by September when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) carries out its first review of the $2.9 billion bailout granted in March this year.

“The eight-day review is to happen from September 11 to 19,” Siyambalapitiya said. The central bank, the ministry of finance and the minister of finance would be involved in the review.

“We had to fulfil nine pre-conditions which we successfully did. The arrangement was for the release of eight tranches until 2027," he said. “About $350 million would be made available to Sri Lanka after the September review,” he added.

In late June, the government announced its domestic debt restructuring programme which has faced criticism from the Opposition. The $2.9 billion IMF bailout deal was approved after pre-conditions for stringent reforms such as personal tax hikes, and increased utility charges on top of restructuring the island's loss-making state ventures.

The key sector state institutions are to be privatised such as the national carrier Srilankan Airlines.


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