By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the eligibility of Sri Lanka to access concessional financing.
The availability of concessional assistance, offered at low interest rates, broadens Sri Lanka’s options to bridge its urgent development financing needs to restore economic stability and deliver essential services, particularly to the poor and vulnerable.
Eligibility for concessional resources among the developing member countries of ADB is based on gross national income per capita and creditworthiness.
ADB’s decision was considered based on a request from the Government of Sri Lanka in view of the severe and unprecedented economic crisis that has reversed hard-won development gains.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a US$ 200 million concessional loan for Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector following the sovereign debt and economic crises that started in April 2022 after it suspended its external debt payments.
The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of USD 200 million each.
In a statement, the ADB said subprogram targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.
The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured, the statement reads.
“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono.
“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”
The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023. It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.
The program is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.
In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.
The loan is accompanied by a US$ 1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.