Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

To the IMF or not? Sri Lanka flip flops as Central Bank governor refutes minister

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor apparently backtracked on remarks made by the government’s finance minister today, stating that the crisis-hit island was only seeking “technical assistance” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as debt repayments continue to pile up.

In a tweet posted earlier today Ajith Nivard Cabraal said any approach by Sri Lanka to the IMF was strictly “about a routine Technical Assistance Program on Macro-Fiscal capacity building for MOF's new Macro-Fiscal Unit”.

“Nothing else,” he added.

Finance Minister's comment yesterday (2) re."#SriLanka informing @IMFNews to provide #expert advice on #economic situation" is about a routine Technical Assistance Program on Macro-Fiscal capacity building for MOF's new Macro-Fiscal Unit. Nothing else. @RealBRajapaksa @CBSL #lka

— Ajith Nivard Cabraal (@an_cabraal) February 3, 2022

His tweet was sent in response to remarks from Sri Lanka’s finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, who told reporters at a forum in Colombo yesterday that his government would finally reach out to the fund, as inflation soars and food prices have left many on the island going hungry.

“We have written to them and sought specialist advice from them,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying. “The IMF is an international institution set up to give advice to countries that are going through crisis situations.”

“So one of these days they will come and give us advice about things that we do not know. Whether we take the advice is not something I can do alone. Before we go there we need to know what they give. We get specialist knowledge and are looking to find out what is the suitable system for this country.”

An IMF team will arrive in Sri Lanka "in the next few days and advise us on how to deal with the situation," Rajapaksa added. "I can't say whether we will accept their advice or not, but they will tell us what we don't know.”

Though Sri Lanka has been going through an unprecedented economic crisis, many in the current regime are staunchly opposed to reaching out to the IMF for intervention.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.