Semasinghe denies IMF approval only in March if December missed
3 months ago
Says IMF regularly holds Board meetings
Claims all creditors, including China, willing to support
BY Mirudhula ThambiahState Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that even if the December deadline to obtain International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board approval for the bailout programme for Sri Lanka amidst ongoing talks with creditors is missed, Sri Lanka will not have to wait until March 2023 to seek IMF Board approval for the same. “We are making our best effort to obtain approval by December, but failing this doesn’t mean that the next IMF Board meeting will be in March 2023. The IMF holds regular Board meetings,” Semasinghe told The Morning yesterday (7), denying media reports to the contrary regarding Sri Lanka being likely to miss the December deadline to obtain IMF Board approval.Denying international media reports on the matter and claiming that they are not factually correct, Semasinghe stated: “The IMF has their regular board meetings. That is why we are having progressive and committed discussions with our creditors. I must say that no country has indicated that they are not supporting us, as they have shown their willingness to support us, including China. We are trying our level best to make sure to get the approval by December.“We have gone quite far in these discussions. The reforms required to become a debt sustainable country have been executed by us. Some are to be implemented and some are being executed right now, and some are being challenged in court, concerning which we have to wait for the Supreme Court’s special determination.”He also noted: “Our commitment has been appreciated by all the parties. We are not ignorant of the mess that the people are going through. We are fully aware of this fact. Despite that, we have to do these adjustments to make sure that we become debt sustainable, and that this kind of similar situation will not arise anytime in the future. These are not very popular decisions. No president or government would like to take these drastic decisions. However, there is no other way out. We have to increase our revenue; we have to control our costs; we have to make sure that public funds are not utilised to maintain State-Owned Enterprises.”Semasinghe further said: “The IMF is assisting us to come out of this mess. It does not mean that they have forced anything on us. They have shown us the pathway to recovery. That is the pathway we are trying to see how best we could adopt. Those are the changes we have made in the interim Budget. We are awaiting a court determination in regard to revenue measures.”Meanwhile, the Hindustan Times recently reported, quoting an unnamed financial analyst based in Washington D.C., where the IMF is headquartered, that Sri Lanka will likely miss the December 2022, deadline to secure an IMF loan, and will have to therefore wait till March 2023.Sri Lanka is to secure a $ 2.9 billion loan from the IMF in eight equal tranches.