Sitharaman assures all possible help to Sri Lanka
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Sri Lankan finance minister Ali Sabry on Tuesday and assured her Lankan counterpart that as a close friend and good neighbour, India will try to extend all possible cooperation and assistance. The two leaders met on the sidelines of IMF-WB Spring Meetings.
India’s assistance was appreciated by IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva as she met the Union finance minister, adding that the global institution will continue to engage with Sri Lanka, PTI reported. India has extended financial assistance worth more than $1.5 billion, including two lines of credit for purchasing fuel, food and medicines, to help Sri Lanka tackle the economic crisis facing the country.
Sri Lanka has been witnessing widespread protests amid mounting public anger as people face shortage of fuel and other essentials and blackouts.
New Lanka Cabinet
On Monday, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a new cabinet to send out a message of political stability. He also admitted that the public anger was justified.
Sri Lanka has sought rapid assistance from the IMF, an aide to the country’s finance minister tweeted on Tuesday, the Hindustan Times reported. “Negotiations with IMF started on a positive note today. They see the recent steps taken to increase the interest rates and calling for RFP’s for the appointment of Intl. Financial/Legal Advisors as good first steps towards a possible restructuring Programme,” Shamir Zavahir said.
“The finance minister made a request for a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to mitigate the current supply chain issues, yet initially IMF (is) of the view that it doesn’t meet their criteria. However, India subsequently made representations on an RFI for SL as well and the IMF may consider this request due to the unique circumstances. In any event, the IMF appears to be positive towards granting an Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Ideally if this can be expedited, it can help stabilize things in the short term till long-term solutions kick in,” he tweeted.
(With Agency inputs)