Sri Lanka selling ISBs under vote-on-account limits: Treasury Secy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is selling international sovereign bonds under limits set by a vote on account, Treasury Secretary R H S Samaratunga said.

Sri Lanka started marketing 5 and 10-year sovereign bonds early Thursday. Sri Lanka initially said it was seeking about 2.0 billion US dollars from a sovereign bond, but later reports indicated that more would be borrowed.

Samaratunga said there was a limit of 990 billion rupees of domestic and foreign borrowings (5.5 billion dollars) set in the vote on account and some domestic bonds had already been issued.

Sri Lanka also has a debt management law, which officials said allowed the government to sell more debt than was needed for current year so that debt could be managed.

A budget for the full year was presented to parliament on March 05, which will be debated over several weeks and passed.

"Until the budget is passed we have very limited space," Samaratunga told reporters without giving details. "What the cabinet had passed was the maximum limit. But we don’t have space in the vote of account borrowing limit."

"We will make use of what is available through that space."

The vote on account for four months had passed a borrowing limit of 990 billion rupees (around 5.5 billion US dollars), but domestic borrowings have to also be included in that limit, Samaratunga said.

Sri Lanka has to repay around 3.9 billion US dollars in external debt maturities for the rest of 2019, having already repaid 2 billion US dollars, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. (Colombo/Mar07/2019-SB)





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