Written by Keshala Dias
07 Mar, 2017 | 8:10 pm
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cautioned Sri Lanka to be vigilant in monitoring inflation and accelerate delayed structural reforms in public financial management and loss-making, state-owned enterprises.
An IMF mission led by Jaewoo Lee who was in the country since mid February 2017 to discuss the progress of the economic reforms programme, has commended government efforts to increase revenue collection and automating revenue administration.
The statement issued at the end of the mission says that stepping up revenue collection and automated revenue administration have helped the government meet fiscal targets. However, the IMF mission said net international reserves have fallen short of the target and progress on implementing structural benchmarks was somewhat uneven.
The delay in privatising loss-making SriLankan Airlines and a pending fuel price formula expected by end 2016 has hampered the structural reform programme of state-owned enterprises.
Foreign reserves is a key performance criteria that Sri Lanka needs to meet to draw the next tranche of money from the IMF.
The IMF mission statement said discussions will continue in Washington D.C. during the Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in April.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka this month, but media reports said her visit was delayed due to an unforeseen change in her schedule.
Meanwhile, the Joint Opposition convening a media briefing, commented on the current economic status of the country and Christine Lagarde’s visit to Sri Lanka.
The Chairman of Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna Professor G. L. Peiris claimed that the Templeton fund has taken away USD 1,475 million of invested funds from Sri Lanka during the past fourteen months due to lack of confidence in the country.
Furthermore, he noted that there are clear signs of an increase in the dollar, and that the IMF head Christine Lagarde is not arriving in the country as a result of the country’s economy.
“Sri Lanka’s economy is turning out to be like that of Greece, it is a similar situation or even worse”, he added, “It’s perhaps after taking all this into consideration that Christine Lagarde had decided that it is not timely to visit Sri lanka. This is what we believe”.
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