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Sri Lanka failed 16 IMF agreements, latest deal must be honoured: minister

by Paul Williamson
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Sri Lanka violated all 16 of its past agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and if the current agreement is also not honoured, the situation could get macabre, according to Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena.

“The previous 16 agreements with the IMF were all violated. It was after violating the agreements that the country went bankrupt. If we violate the agreement again even after bankruptcy, the country will not last. Besides killing each other, there will be no alternative,” Gunawardena said speaking to reporters.

“So no matter how much we don’t like it, the government of Sri Lanka must take the country on the path of debt restructuring and in accordance with the IMF pact,” he said.

Opposition parties in Sri Lanka this week boycotted a meeting called by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss the IMF programme ahead of its second review by the international lender.

The only opposition member to attend the meeting was Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran.

Sumanthiran said the government has agreed to provide copies of the Technical Assistance Reports compiled by the IMF to opposition party leaders on request.

Sri Lanka’s opposition parties have not been overwhelmingly supportive of the IMF programme, the country’s 17th so far. Leftists outfits such as the National People’s Power (NPP) have historically taken an anti-IMF stance but recently met a group of representatives of the international lender.

The SJB, which is more inclined to share President Wickremesinghe’s liberal outlook, too has been critical, with its leader claiming that he would renegotiate the deal under terms more preferable to Sri Lanka.

State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the opposition could’ve shared their concerns on the IMF programme and openly proposed any alternatives if they had attended the discussion.

“I’m very surprised. It was for a very important economic discussion that the president invited. He asked party leaders to come and bring whoever they like, which meant that the leaders’ economic advisors could’ve also come,” Siyambalapitiya said speaking to reporters outside the Presidential Secretariat on Monday March 11.

“They could’ve shared their concerns with the whole gathering and said ‘not this tax, have this instead’, or anything at all,” he added. (Colombo/Mar13/2024)

Source: Economy Next

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