An Echelon Media Company
Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Sri Lanka makes progress on US$1.9bn credit lines, swap from India during Finance Minister visit

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has made progress in getting a central bank swap, credit lines for fuel, food and medicines on which a timeline has to be agreed, during a visit to India by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the island’s High Commission in New Delhi said.

Minister Rajapaksa had two rounds of joint discussions with Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Two sources familiar with the talks said a total of 1.9 billion dollars of assistance was discussed, a 400 million dollar swap and a 500 million dollar credit line for fuel with an expectation of a currency swap materializing.

“The credit line is not free and it is with conditions,” a second source said. “Basically we need to import everything from India. The money could only be used for Indian imports.”

Sri Lanka’s embassy in New Delhi said four issues had been discussed “for short and medium-term cooperation” at a “mutually agreed timeline”.

These were:

i) A food and health security package on an urgent basis that would envisage an extension of a line of credit to cover the import of food, medicines and other essential items from India to Sri Lanka.

ii) Energy security package that would include a line of credit to cover import of fuel from India, and an early modernization of Trincomalee Tank Farm.

iii) Offer of a Currency Swap to help Sri Lanka address the current balance of payment issues

iv) Facilitating Indian investments in different sectors in Sri Lanka that would contribute to growth and expand employment. This will build on recent trends in that respect.

“It was agreed that modalities to realize these objectives would be finalized early, within a mutually agreed timeline,” the statement said.

“Minister Rajapaksa and Ministers Sitharaman and Jaishankar agreed to open direct lines of communication and to be in direct and regular contact with each other in order to coordinate the above initiative.”

Sri Lanka is gradually building up its ties with India after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government cancelled a 500 million US dollar East Container Terminal (ECT) deal with India and Japan on top of renewable power projects near India being awarded to a Chinese firm.

Later the Sri Lankan government gave 800 million US dollar West Container Terminal (WCT) Port deal to India while not allowing Chinese company to start the energy project in Sri Lanka’s north. (Colombo/Dec4/2021)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

Continue Reading