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Sri Lanka cabinet to discuss IMF bailout option

Mahinda Amaraweera

Sri Lanka cabinet will meet on Monday to decide whether or not to seek bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The group of ministers will be joined by the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal as well as the Treasury Secretary Sajith Attygalle, according to Environment minister Mahinda Amaraweera. 

Amaraweera, who is a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), has spoken out in favour of seeking an IMF bailout. Speaking to reporters last week he said, “We will have to go to the IMF. There is nothing wrong with that… since we have no other option".

His position is increasingly at odds with the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) who have actively disregarded any IMF assistance, with some government ministers stating that even if they were to 'die' they would not seek assistance from the IMF.

The IMF last year prematurely ended a loan program to Sri Lanka after disbursing USD $1.3 billion of an agreed USD $1.5 billion facility. Sri Lanka has been severely impacted by the pandemic and through government mismanagement has accumulated an estimated USD $7.3 billion in domestic and foreign debt which would have to be repayed in the next 12 months. This includes a USD $500 million international sovereign bond repayment in January. 

Read more at Japan Times and at The Island 


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