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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 22/03

  1. IMF to release the first tranche of the 4-year loan of USD 2.9 bn amounting to about USD 332 mn in the next couple of days.
  2. IMF reveals Sri Lanka will search for options to “restructure” domestic debt: says the authorities and their financial advisors will weigh options and associated legal procedures to optimise the design of a local debt treatment: authorities expected to announce parameters of such external & domestic debt operations before end-April: previously, CB Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe asserted there would not be any local debt restructure.
  3. IMF to start “in-depth governance diagnostic exercise” on Sri Lanka, a first in Asia: wealth transfer tax & inheritance tax also to be introduced in Sri Lanka from 2025: Ceylon Chamber of Commerce congratulates Govt on securing IMF Programme.
  4. Mission Chief for Sri Lanka and Asia Pacific, IMF Masahiro Nozaki says the Central Bank must purchase USD 1.4 bn from the market in 2023 to rebuild the reserve: says a period of 4-10 years granted to repay the new loan from the IMF.
  5. Moody’s Analytics says Sri Lanka has a difficult road ahead irrespective of how much funding it receives from multilateral and global financial agencies: asserts “the IMF support is definitely not like the silver bullet they think”: also says the exuberance will fade unless there are some significant improvements from the Govt.
  6. SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara files a contempt of court charge before Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardene for not complying with a court order not to withhold allocated funds through the Budget to hold LG polls.
  7. NCPI rate of Inflation almost flat at 53.6% in Feb’23 from 53.2% in Jan’23: food inflation decreases to 49% from 53.6% in Jan’23: non-food Inflation increases to 57.4% in Feb’23 from 52.9% in Jan’23.
  8. Justice Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry to visit South Africa to further study on establishing a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in Sri Lanka.
  9. Colombo University Economics Professor Sirimal Abeyrratne says he has not seen the IMF conditions for the loan as yet: asserts however that the programme will improve Sri Lanka’s credit worthiness enabling it to borrow from other financial institutions: also says there will be multi-lateral and bi-lateral lenders willing to provide funds to Sri Lanka, while the Govt could also access commercial borrowings.
  10. Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara says fuel prices would be reduced by a considerable margin at the routine fuel price revision according to the fuel price formula next month: also says the Govt would be able to procure fuel shipments at a lower and competitive bidding after the IMF bailout.

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