The IMF team is holding talks with Prime Minister Ranil Vikremesinghe

COLOMBO: Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wikremesinghe on Monday held talks with a guest PFI an economic program team that could be backed by a global lender loan agreement for the starving government that seeks to find $ 6 billion to keep the country afloat for the next six months.
Earlier this month, Wickremesinghe, who is also finance minister, held virtual talks with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva neither Sri Lanka decided to seek the help of the Washington-based global lender to combat the worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948.
Negotiations between Sri Lanka and the IMF began on April 18th.
The prime minister’s office said the IMF team was in Sri Lanka to continue personal discussions with Sri Lankan authorities to reach an agreement at staff level.
The future course of action on loans will depend on agreements between Sri Lanka and IMF staff, and the delegation will stay in Sri Lanka for about a week to hold discussions, the prime minister’s office said.
The IMF team is visiting Colombo on June 20-30 to continue discussions on an economic program that could be backed by an IMF loan agreement, building on progress made during the virtual mission on May 9-24, the news agency reported. Colombo Gazette portal.
“We reaffirm our commitment to support Sri Lanka at this difficult time, in line with IMF policies,” the IMF said.
Sri Lanka expects $ 4-5 billion in IMF loan assistance. Earlier, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said aid from the fund would allow Sri Lanka to receive aid from other countries.
The IMF has set a number of conditions to agree to a rescue package.
Sri Lanka has already begun measures to restructure its external debt – a prerequisite for an IMF program – after the government halted all foreign debt payments on April 12th.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe said the government has earmarked $ 5 billion this year for the payout, plus another $ 1 billion to strengthen the country’s reserves.
The country, which has nearly gone bankrupt, with an acute currency crisis that has led to foreign debt default, announced in April that it is suspending payments of nearly $ 7 billion due this year from about $ 25 billion due by 2026. the amount of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt is $ 51 billion.
In May, the IMF said it required “sufficient confidence” from the country that it would restore debt resilience during the debt restructuring process.
“As Sri Lanka’s public debt is assessed as unsustainable, the approval by the Executive Board of an IMF-supported program for the country will require adequate guarantees that debt sustainability will be restored,” the IMF said.
The economic crisis has caused a severe shortage of basic products such as food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuels, toilet paper and even matches, with Sri Lankans for months forced to wait in line for hours in front of shops to buy fuel and gas. for cooking.

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