Sri Lanka kicks off high level talks with IMF Chief; regional head to visit island

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had kicked of high level discussions with the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Largarde as the country seeks a new program and its regional head will also visit the island shortly.

"We had a fruitful discussion about recent economic developments in Sri Lanka and the near-term outlook," a joint statement attributed to Lagarde and Karunanayake said.

"These discussions will continue in the context of the next regularly scheduled Post-Program Monitoring mission led by Todd Schneider, which will visit Sri Lanka from February 23, through March 04."

"Management level dialogue will continue on the occasion of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in April."

The mission will be boosted with IMF Asia and Pacific Department Director Changyong Rhee also joining in, the statement said.

Sri Lanka started a 2.5 billion US dollar program with the IMF in 2009. The Post-Program Mission will be followed by other technical missions on tax policy, public financial management and financial sector supervision.

Sri Lanka is seeking to boost its credit from the IMF to up to 4.0 billion dollars, as the country’s reserves are coming under pressure from strong credit growth and repayments of its earlier loan with the Fund.

A revised budget presented in January 29, which raised current spending while cutting taxes, had also put further pressure on the domestic credit system, requiring higher interest rates to keep the economy in balance and conserve reserves, analysts say.







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