Sri Lankan President welcomes financial assurances from creditors, highlights importance of IMF agreement

Colombo [Sri Lanka], March 8 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday welcomed obtaining financial assurances from India, China and the Paris Club. In a series of tweets, Wickremesinghe spoke about obtaining assurances from Sri Lanka’s bilateral creditors and the importance of IMF funds for the island nation.

Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he spoke with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. He further stated that he and Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor signed the agreement and sent it to IMF. He noted that a response from IMF is expected this month followed by funds from World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, Wickremesinghe stated, "I spoke with IMF MD Kristalina GeorgievaUS Sec of the Treasury Janet Yellen. Letter of assurance from Exim Bank of China was received. I, together with the Governor of CB, signed the agreementsent it to IMF--a response is expected this month, followed by funds from WBADB."Wickremesinghe’s remarks comes after International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that Sri Lanka has received financial assurances from all major creditors and will hold a meeting on March 20 for the consideration of approval for the state level agreement for financing under an Extended Facility.

He stressed that any violation of the agreement with the IMF could result in discontinuation of Sri Lanka’s collaboration with all financial institutions. He stated that Sri Lanka needs IMF to lead agreed debt sustainability discussions with creditors.

Wickremesinghe tweeted, "Any violation of the agreement with IMF could result in SL’s collaboration with all financial institutions being discontinued. Annual payments of approximately Rs.6-7b of loans are due until 2029; thus, SL needs IMF to lead agreed debt sustainability discussions with creditors."Highlighting the importance of the IMF agreement, Wickremesinghe tweeted, "The agreement with the IMF is a crucial step in restoring our economy. It’s not a question of whether we should or shouldn’t go for it, but simply that we must."In a tweet, he said, "I’ve been heading discussions with IMF since mid-22 concerning SL’s BoP, fiscalforeign exchange crisis. We negotiated a staff-level agreement with IMF by September 22,worked with India, ChinaThe Paris Club to obtain their assurances last January."In a tweet, Sri Lankan President called on influential groups, political parties, voluntary organisations, trade unions, professionals and all the people to support country’s economic reforms to move forward. He further stated, "If you disrupt the ongoing progress, the consequences will be dire, as unrest could lead to unprecedented woes."Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to military and police for upholding peace by maintaining public order. He tweeted, "LKR is appreciating. If country faced a state of anarchy on July 9, we’d be in dire straits. I’m grateful to militarypolice for upholding peace--by maintaining public order,we’ve come so far to having fuel, power,$ in reserves--we can’t allow sinister forces to destabilise SL."He called on opposition to join him in stabilising the country’s economy. Wickremesinghe said that he will table the IMF agreement in parliament upon approval. He thanked the country’s National Assembly and President committees for their reports andWickremesinghe tweeted, "I invite the opposition to join me in stabilising the economy. GDP should be evaluated by June. We can then accordingly decide on holding General and Presidential Elections. I will table the IMF agreement in parliament upon approvalhouse can approve or offer an alternative."He further stated, "I will submit a new draft on the Government’s way forward and road map. After Parliament reaches an agreement, I will present long-and mid-term plans. I thank the National Assembly and Parliament committees for their reports. We were able to complete the work within eight months."IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed the progress made by Sri Lankan authorities in taking decisive policy actions and obtaining financial assurances from major creditors, including India, China and the Paris Club.

Kristalina Georgieva tweeted, "I welcome the progress made by Sri Lankan authorities in taking decisive policy actionsobtaining financing assurances from all their major creditors, incl. China, Indiathe Paris Club. Look forward to presenting the IMF-supported program to our Exec. Board on March 20."On Tuesday, Deputy Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo Hu Wei presented the Exim Bank of China’s financial assurance letter to Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Mahinda Siriwardena at the Presidential Secretariat.

Sri Lankan President’s Media Division tweeted, "The Deputy Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo Hu Wei officially presented the financial assurance letter issued by the Exim Bank of China to the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Mahinda Siriwardena at the Presidential Secretariat today (07)."It further said, "Mr. Hu Wei revealed that large-scale companies are looking forward to visiting Sri Lanka in the near future to explore new investment opportunities."Earlier in January, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India extended financing assurance to International Monetary Fund (IMF) to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward with an expectation of strengthening the island nation’s position and ensuring that all bilateral creditors are dealt with, equally. (ANI)