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Sri Lanka opposition to negotiate with IMF direct instead of ‘local jokers’

EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said he will negotiate with the International Monetary Fund in Washington instead of dealing with the ‘local jokers’ if a new administration comes to power.

Wickramasinghe and common opposition candidate Maithripla Sirisena were addressing a forum in Colombo to explain their future strategy to the business community.

Wickramasinghe said he did not agree with a recent International Monetary Fund assessment that all was well with the exchange rate, for example, and numbers did not add up.

He said he planned to deal with IMF’s Washinghton headquarters direct for a next generation of structural reforms.

“They come here and write books and go. I will not waste time with the jokers here, I will deal directly with Washington,” Wickramasinghe said.

“We have to go for the second generation of structural reforms which will promote competition and innovation and productivity gains. Are you ready for this?”

Wickramasinghe said there was a need to restructure short term international government debt with the help of IMF and others.

He said Sri Lanka’s data was questionable and state revenues were low.

Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are still at the same level as in mid 2011 and credit growth is picking up eating into temporarily sterilized liqudity. Analysts say Sri Lanka failed to build up reserves due to large profit transfers to the state over the past four years and repayments to the IMF is now kicking in.

Meanwhile rupee liquidity that is only temporarily sterlized, which is available for the banking system to loan out as credit is also expected to drag out reserves as the exchange rate is defended.

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