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Sri Lanka Targets $5 Billion For Repayments & $1 Billion To Bolster Country's Reserve: PM

Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the nation was targeting $5 billion for repayments and $1 billion to support the country's reserves.

Sri Lanka

Image: Facebook/@Ranil Wickremesinghe

As Sri Lanka continues to face economic turbulence, the worst ever since the country became independent in 1948, newly-appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the nation was targeting $5 billion for repayments and $1 billion to support the country's reserves. He said that the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently going on and was optimistic that the negotiations would conclude this month. Further, he clarified that the debt restructuring has already begun after the appointment of financial and legal advisors.

According to the Sri Lankan PM, the financial condition of the country will depend on the agreement with the IMF, if reached positively. While commenting on the issues of dwindling relations with Japan, the leader said it has already broken down and added the situation will be better once the confidence in Tokyo will be regained.

Moreover, the island nation is continuing talks with the donor countries, he said. Wickremesinghe stated that former Maldives President and Speaker of Parliament Mohammed Nasheed, who was recently appointed to coordinate the relief efforts for the country, was leading the international appeal for urgently-needed medical supplies.

PM Ranil accuses the earlier government for the current situation

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan PM blamed the earlier government for the food crisis in the country. According to him, the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led government had abruptly implemented a 100% organic agriculture model by banning chemical fertilisers. He said this resulted in the collapse of the agriculture sector.

Moreover, he claimed that foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic were also a major reason for the current situation. However, this time, securing fertiliser and compiling a food security program were being given equal priority, he maintained. 

Sri Lanka crisis

The island nation has been experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. The country has huge debt obligations and dwindling foreign reserves, and has been struggling to pay for imports, causing a shortage of essentials. Citizens were forced to stand in long queues for fuel, cooking gas, and medicines.

Earlier in May, the World Bank said it will disburse nearly $700 million to the island nation in the next few months. The major development came after the World Bank's Country Manager in Colombo, Chiyo Kanda held discussions with the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs GL Peiris on the current situation of the country last week. During the most awaited meeting, Kanda assured him that the agency will work with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the UN office to re-purpose their already committed projects.

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