IMF provisionally agrees on $2.9 billion loan for Sri Lanka: All you need to know
The IMF programme will aim to raise government revenue to support fiscal consolidation, introduce new pricing for fuel and electricity, hike social spending, bolster central bank autonomy and rebuild the country's depleted foreign reserves.
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Thursday reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of about $2.9 billion. The agreement is subject to approval by IMF management and its executive board and is contingent on Sri Lankan authorities following through with previously agreed measures.
In a statement, the IMF said, "The objectives of Sri Lanka's new Fund-supported programme are to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability."
Besides ensuring efforts are made to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors, the IMF also requires receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka's official creditors.
"Debt relief from Sri Lanka's creditors and additional financing from multilateral partners will be required to help ensure debt sustainability and close financing gaps," the statement said.
It is reportedly said that the IMF programme will aim to raise government revenue to support fiscal consolidation, introduce new pricing for fuel and electricity, hike social spending, bolster central bank autonomy and rebuild the country's depleted foreign reserves.
"Starting from one of the lowest revenue levels in the world, the programme will implement major tax reforms. These reforms include making personal income tax more progressive and broadening the tax base for corporate income tax and VAT," the statement said.
Sri Lanka needs to restructure nearly $30 billion of debt, and Japan has offered to lead talks with the other main creditors, including India and China.
The crisis-hit island will also need to strike a deal with international banks and asset managers that hold the majority of its $19 billion worth of sovereign bonds, which are now classified as in default.
This island has been seeking up to $3 billion from the IMF in a bid to escape its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.
Sri Lankans have faced acute shortages of fuel and other basic goods for months, leaving it in political turmoil and hit by runaway inflation, which is now at almost 65% year-on-year.