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China’s loan restructuring clears way for IMF bailout of Sri Lanka

China's loan restructuring clears way for IMF bailout of Sri Lanka
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March 07, 2023 (MLN): Sri Lanka has received a lifeline from China as the state-owned Exim Bank agreed to restructure its loans to the bankrupt island nation. The move has cleared the final obstacle to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout, which will help to stabilize the country’s financial situation, as per news reports. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s president, announced the news in parliament on Tuesday, saying that the Exim Bank had sent a letter to the IMF expressing Beijing’s willingness to restructure its credit to Sri Lanka. This move has opened the way for the first tranche of the IMF package to be released within the month.

“No sooner the letter from the Exim Bank of China went to the IMF, I signed Sri Lanka’s Letter of Intent to go with the IMF program,” said Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lanka has been struggling to manage its finances, defaulting on its $46 billion foreign debt last April during an economic crisis that caused months of food and fuel shortages across the country. Of that debt, just over $14 billion is bilateral debt owed to foreign governments, with China holding 52%.

Wickremesinghe’s government has been working hard to secure a $2.9 billion rescue package from the IMF to restore Sri Lanka’s public finances. To meet the conditions of the bailout, the administration has imposed sharp tax hikes, ended subsidies on petrol and electricity, and made plans to sell off loss-making state enterprises.

The IMF program is aimed at reducing Sri Lanka’s fiscal deficit and stabilizing its debt levels. It also aims to strengthen the country’s external position by boosting its foreign exchange reserves.

The program is expected to help Sri Lanka achieve sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty and inequality, and create more jobs for its people. The IMF has also pledged to work with Sri Lanka to help improve its business environment and increase its competitiveness.

The news of China’s agreement to restructure its loans to Sri Lanka has been welcomed by analysts, who say it will help to ease the country’s financial woes and improve its prospects for the future. The move is also seen as a sign of China’s commitment to the global economy and its willingness to work with other nations to solve their economic problems.

The news comes at a time when Sri Lanka is facing other challenges, including political instability and social unrest. The government has been criticized for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its response to recent protests over the rising cost of living.

Despite these challenges, analysts say that Sri Lanka has a lot of potentials, with a highly skilled workforce, a strategic location, and a rich cultural heritage. With the help of the IMF bailout and China’s restructuring of its loans, the country could be poised for a brighter future.

 Copyright Mettis Link News 

Posted on: 2023-03-07T12:03:01+05:00