IMF agrees to provide crisis-hit Sri Lanka $2.9 billion

By Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The International Monetary Fund said Thursday it has reached a staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka to provide $2.9 billion over four years to help salvage the country from its economic crisis.

An IMF team visiting Sri Lanka said in a statement that the preliminary agreement is subject to approval from the agency’s management and executive board “contingent on the implementation by the authorities of prior actions, and on receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s official creditors and making a good faith effort to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors.”

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in recent memory with acute shortages of essentials like fuel, medicines and food because of serious foreign currency shortages.

The island nation has suspended repayment of nearly $7 billion in foreign debt due for this year. The country’s total foreign debt amounts to more than $51 billion of which $ 28 billion has to be repaid by 2028.

The IMF said Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to contract by 8.7% and inflation has exceeded 60%.

“Against this backdrop, the authorities’ program, supported by the Fund, would aim to stabilize the economy, protect the livelihoods of the Sri Lankan people, and prepare the ground for economic recovery and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth,” it said.

Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press

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