ECONOMYNEXT – The United Kingdom is “ready to consider” financing assurances to Sri Lanka to secure a 2.9 billion US dollar extended fund facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a UK official said.
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) Anne-Marie Trevelyan told the British parliament on Tuesday January 24 that the UK is fully supportive of the proposed Coordination Platform between Sri Lanka’s Paris Club and non-Paris Club creditors, which the British government believes represents the most efficient way to restore debt sustainability in Sri Lanka.
“Constructive engagement across creditors is vital to secure a prompt and comprehensive International Monetary Fund programme for Sri Lanka and ensure a sustainable economic recovery. As a member of the Paris Club, the UK stands ready to consider the necessary Financing Assurances to secure an Extended Financing Facility with the IMF in a timely manner,” she said.
Trevelyan was responding to a question posed by Conservative MP Bob Blackman to Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly on what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of a statement a previous statement from economists and academics calling on creditors to share the burden of debt restructuring for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is cautiously optimistic that the IMF bailout package will come through in the first quarter, with IMF board approval anticipated some time in March. India has already assured the IMF of its assistance to Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring plans, with a confirmation from China also expected in the coming weeks.
The island nation is going through its worst currency crisis in decades and the IMF loan would help unlock other avenues of financing that’s desperately needed. (Colombo/Jan26/2023)