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ADB 55TH Annual Meeting in Colombo postponed in socio- economic crisis

Asian Development (ADB) Fifty-Fifth Annual Meeting scheduled to be held in Colombo is to be postponed indefinitely from 5 to 8 September 2022 due to present socio-economic crisis in the country , Finance Minister Ali Sabri said.

It is unfortunate that the ADB Annual Meeting which was to be held in Colombo later this year had to be postponed to a later year in light of the current pressing circumstances, he disclosed.

It was a decision which was made after considering all the factors and in discussion with the stakeholders given the economic situation that Sri Lanka has been placed in,” Sabry said.

Finance Minister and Chair Ali Sabry made this revelation when he virtually kicked off the 55th Annual Meeting Business Session of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently.

This decision has been taken in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka, and in view of the continuing challenges posed by the current socio economic crisis situation in the country , adb disclosed.

ADB and the Government of Sri Lanka will continue to monitor the situation with regard to COVID-19 and make any adjustments as appropriate, it added.

.He said Sri Lanka is currently going through a period of unprecedented economic issues. Even though there were fiscal decisions made that have contributed to this, this situation has been aggravated by certain factors which have been beyond control of the Government.

A primary factor that set off this chain reaction was the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting effect on the global economy. Sri Lanka has relied heavily on tourism to bring in its foreign inflows, and the pandemic effectively stopped that source of income almost overnight, he pointed out.

Sabry said Sri Lanka was slowly coming out of this difficult situation but was consequently hit with the devastating effect of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The skyrocketing price of oil due to the war created an unexpected and unbearable hit on the already struggling economy, and there was very little Sri Lanka could do.

This coupled with inflation, another global problem, has all but put our nation in a place of economic hardship on a scale not experienced before.

“It is in these circumstances that Sri Lanka started discussions with the IMF towards a debt restructure and also with its bilateral and multilateral creditors towards finding a workable solution.

The government has already put in place measures to drive our nation towards reform and a sustainable path including the revision of interest rates and commencing the process to retain a Financial Advisor and a Legal Advisor to move ahead,” the Finance Minister said.

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