Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Govt extends begging bowl to foreign expatriates for few dollars more   

Sri Lanka has decided to accept donations from the country’s expatriates in its quest of begging for a few dollars more while temporarily suspending  its debt repayment pending a restructuring of those obligations consistent with an economic adjustment program supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The island nation’s foreign reserves stood at a paltry $1.93 billion at the end of March, with foreign debt payments of around $4 billion due this year, including a $1 billion international sovereign bond maturing in July. 

In this background, the Central Bank has decided to accept  US dollar donations from the Sri Lankans living abroad who were  expressing their willingness to support the country at this crucial juncture by donating much needed foreign exchange to the Sri Lankan’s foreign reserves. 

The well-wishers  have been requeted make foreign exchange transfers to the following accounts maintained at respective banks by the CB, and it assures that such foreign currency transfers will be utilized only for importation of essential imports including food, fuel and medicines.

Bank NameAccount NumberSwift Code
Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas04015541BKTRUS33XXX
Bank of Ceylon London00088001249BCEYGB2LXXX
HSBC London39600144MIDLGB22XXX
BHF Bank – Germany0000739854BHFBDEFF500

 Sri Lanka is now facing social, economic and financial distress leading to disturbances to normal lives of the people.

The authorities are taking measures to address the current situation of the country including taking steps to actively manage its debt obligations, finding immediate financial assistance from friendly nations and progressing with the discussions with the International Monetary Fund for a comprehensive programme.

, the positive impacts of such measures will be enjoyed by our people only in the medium to long term. However, urgent measures are needed to enhance the country’s foreign reserves position to meet day-to-day essential imports including food, fuel and medicines.

The Finance Ministry said that Sri Lanka has had an unblemished record of external debt service since independence in 1948. 

Recent events, however, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fallout from the hostilities in Ukraine, have so eroded Sri Lanka’s fiscal position that continued normal servicing of external public debt obligations has become impossible.

Late last month, the IMF assessed Sri Lanka’s debt stock as unsustainable. Although the Government has taken extraordinary steps in an effort to remain current on all of its external indebtedness, it is now clear that this is no longer a tenable policy and that a comprehensive restructuring of these obligations will be required.

Confronted by this hard reality, the Government has approached the IMF for assistance in designing an economic recovery program and for emergency financial assistance. 

Government is also seeking financial help from its other multilateral and bilateral partners in order to alleviate the suffering that this extraordinary situation has imposed on the citizens of Sri Lanka

The Government intends to pursue its discussions with the IMF as expeditiously as possible with a view to formulating and presenting to the country’s creditors a comprehensive plan for restoring Sri Lanka’s external public debt to a fully sustainable position.

The Finance Ministry said that it shall therefore be the policy of the Sri Lankan Government to suspend normal debt servicing of all affected debts, for an interim period pending an orderly and consensual restructuring of those obligations in a manner consistent with an economic adjustment program supported by the IMF. 

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