Sri Lanka asks IMF for rapid financial assistance

April 19 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka has requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for rapid financial assistance and the global lender could consider it after an initial reluctance, an aide to the country’s finance minister said on Tuesday.

Protests have erupted in the island nation as it battles a devastating financial crisis brought by the effects of COVID-19, mismanaged government finances and rising prices of fuel that have sapped foreign reserves. read more

A delegation headed by Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ali Sabry kicked off formal talks with the IMF in Washington on Monday for a program the government hopes will help top up its reserves and attract bridge financing to pay for essential imports of fuel, food and medicines.

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“The (foreign minister) made a request for a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to mitigate the current supply chain issues, yet initially the IMF of the view that it doesn’t meet their criteria,” Sabry’s aide Shamir Zavahir said on Twitter.

“However, India subsequently made representations on an RFI for (Sri Lanka) as well and the IMF may consider this request due to the unique circumstances.”

Sri Lanka is seeking $ 3 billion in the coming months from multiple sources including the IMF, the World Bank and India to stave off the crisis, Sabry told Reuters earlier this month. read more

Last week, the country’s central bank said it was suspending repayment on some of its foreign debt pending a restructure.

In the commercial capital of Colombo, protests demanding the ouster of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa have dragged on for more than a week. read more

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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