Debt sustainability ‘Must’ to obtain IMF aid – IMF Spokesman

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Debt sustainability is sine qua non for an IMF loan and the ball in this regard is in Sri Lanka’s court, IMF’s Media Spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday (9).

He was responding to questions from Finance Today and others in respect of IMF’s current position vis-à-vis Sri Lanka.

 Speaking online from IMF Headquarters in Washington DC, he said that only after the Sri Lankan authorities come forward with a viable debt sustainability plan, then and only then can the IMF move towards providing a loan to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s debt is unsustainable, Rice emphasised.

“An IMF team will visit Sri Lanka in the coming weeks following their technical talks with the Sri Lankan authorities that concluded last month (May), seeking the possibility of reaching a staff level agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), the prelude to obtaining IMF financing,” the IMF Spokesman further said.

Rice also said, it was too early to say the size of a possible loan to Sri Lanka nor the date when the IMF team in this connection would visit Sri Lanka. He said, the pending visit of the IMF team, once it takes off, the team  would discuss not only moves to be made by the GoSL for economic and fiscal progress, but also the action plan on the ground being implemented in respect of the same by the GoSL.

Rice also said that they are concerned about the high global energy and food prices and their impact on the poor and vulnerable in Sri Lanka. The IMF Spokesman confirmed that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday, who expressed concern about Sri Lanka’s plight. Rice further said, IMF is committed to Sri Lanka.

By Paneetha Ameresekere