IMF delegation due on 20 June

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation would be visiting the country on 20 June for discussions as Sri Lanka pins its hopes of obtaining financial assistance to overcome the economic crisis.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who informed the owners of the media organisations that he was hopeful that a staff-level agreement would be reached by the end of the month.

During the discussion on Thursday (9) the Prime Minister’s senior economic adviser, Dr. Samaratunga, briefed the participants on the economic situation in the country.

Wickremasinghe said due to the impending food shortages, he was launching the food security programme. Wickremesinghe said, through the food security programme the Government would be able to provide food free of charge for 10 per cent of the population who cannot afford three meals a day.

He made an appeal to the media owners to assist the Government by presenting the ‘real picture’ of the situation. He further said the media must hold the Government accountable when necessary, but at the same time requested that responsible reporting is followed.

When questioned on the Government’s initiatives, he said due to the damage caused to the economy the country would have to suffer the consequences. However, he added that the Government is making maximum effort to reduce the impact through providing financial and logistical support. Rs 200 billion-financial safety net is being raised for social sector support.  Elaborating further he said, discussions were underway with Japan to regain their confidence and secure their support. The Prime Minister said that countries were stepping forward with assistance in food and medical supplies, however, no country would step forward with providing fuel free of charge.