Sunday, September 24, 2023

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Govt extends begging bowl for US$ 53 million more to ADB in addition to $350 Million loan

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka has extended the begging bowl to ADB for US$53 million additional loan for integrated rural road investment project following the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s approval of a US$350 million special policy-based loan.

This ADB loan is to provide budget support to Sri Lanka for economic stabilization. The program is part of a broader package of financial assistance anchored by the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility for the country.

This was aimed at stabilizing the economy and lay the foundation for economic recovery and sustained growth.

Sri Lanka has made the fresh appeal to ADB for the repair and reconstruction of a dilapidated rural road network which is an urgent need, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

Sri Lanka is facing a severe and unprecedented economic crisis. High inflation has eroded purchasing power, livelihoods have been affected, and past development gains have been reversed.

“ADB is concerned about the deep crisis in the country and its impact on the people of Sri Lanka, especially the poor and the vulnerable, particularly women,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

“ADB is committed to standing with Sri Lanka as it addresses its present challenges and strides toward economic stabilization, sustainable recovery, and inclusive growth.”

Sri Lanka has embarked on bold reforms to address the causes of both internal and external imbalances and return to a sustainable debt trajectory.

The country faces a long road to recovery and must remain steadfast in the implementation of necessary reforms, which include enhancing tax revenue collection, strengthening public financial management, and improving performance of state-owned enterprises.

It will ensure autonomy and independence of the central bank, safeguarding financial sector stability, and bolstering governance frameworks.

As these measures are implemented, it is essential to ensure that adequate social protection is provided. Implementing governance reforms and anticorruption measures will be critical.

Transparency and open communication will be crucial in building agreement around the reforms. ADB will proactively engage with the government, other stakeholders, and development partners to help address structural impediments and plan future support.

ADB has supported Sri Lanka’s response throughout the crisis. In 2022, in close coordination with development partners, ADB provided emergency assistance to support basic services and sustain livelihoods.

ADB repurposed $334 million of existing loans as emergency response to support the import of essential items such as fertilizer, medicines, chemicals for water treatment, working capital for small and medium-sized enterprises, and cash transfers to the most poor and vulnerable.

Trade finance lines through ADB Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program supported the import of essential items during the crisis.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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