Key talks between IMF and Govt. tomorrow

By Skandha Gunasekara

Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold key discussions with government officials tomorrow on resuming the IMF programme with Sri Lanka.

Director of Information at the Ministry of Finance Mohamed Ali Hassen told The Sunday Morning that representatives of the IMF would be meeting with government officials including the Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera and the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy.

Hassen said that the discussions would focus on the release of the remainder of a $ 1.5 billion loan.

He said that four tranches of the loan had already been given to Sri Lanka, amounting to $ 1.1 billion.

The fifth tranche was to be released in November last year but due to the constitutional crisis that occurred in October, the IMF decided to withhold the funds.

Following the conclusion of the crisis, the Government requested that the remainder of the loan be granted, and upon this request, the IMF representatives arrived on the island on Friday (15) to discuss the matter.

The funds would go to the Central Bank as an extended fund facility to maintain foreign reserves.
Meanwhile, referring to the $ 1 billion loan to be given by the Bank of China, Hassen said negotiations were still ongoing with regard to the terms and conditions of the loan.

Once terms had been hashed out, a first tranche of $ 300 million would be released by the Bank of China.