Colombo: Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has assured the island nation’s external creditors of maintaining full transparency in resolving the debt crisis and getting the country back on track.
Awaiting the much-needed $2.9 International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout which is expected to be taken up at March 20 board meeting by the Washington-based lender, he encouraged both bilateral and private creditors of Sri Lanka to strengthen coordination between themselves and engage constructively with Sri Lanka for a swift resolution of the public debt situation.
He urged the country’s official bilateral creditors and the Paris Club creditors, to foster the coordination required for the much-delayed IMF supported programme.
The Sri Lanka President thanked India and other creditors including Japan, China and the Paris Club bilateral partners for enabling the cooperation required to arrive at this point and explicitly delivering IMF-compatible financing assurances.
“We commit to communicating transparently with all of you on any debt treatment terms that are agreed with any creditor or group of creditors, before being formalised. In the same vein, we commit to reporting regularly on our indebtedness, ensuring no financial liabilities incurred by the country are undisclosed,” President Wickremesinghe said.
Wickremsinghe, who took over from Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country amidst public outrage over mismanagement and leading it to a severe economic crisis last year, assured that Sri Lanka is committed not to resume debt service to any creditor unless that creditor agrees on a comprehensive debt treatment in line with IMF-supported programme parameters and the comparability of treatment principle.
“We will not conclude debt treatment agreements with any official bilateral creditor or any commercial creditor or any group of such creditors on terms more favourable than those agreed under any multilateral platform put forward by our official bilateral creditors,” he said.
With over $50 billion external debts, Sri Lanka, last May, defaulted on its debt for the first time in its history. Suffering the 2019 Easter Sunday attack followed by Covid-19 pandemic and world economic crisis, the Indian Ocean island faced a severe financial crisis with inflation and dollar crunch since the beginning of 2022.