‘SL to receive first tranche of US$ 1.5 bn IMF loan next week’


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The first tranche of the US$ 1.5 billion IMF loan facility to Sri Lanka is likely to be received by the country sometime next week, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Arjuna Mahendran said.

"We are looking for a loan of as much as US$ 1.5 billion from the IMF as a seal of approval for the government's policies, in order to help draw further foreign inflows and to cover up our import bill, Mahendran told The Island Financial Review yesterday.

He said Sri Lanka would be informed about the day on which the first tranche of the loan would be released."Over the last 10 years the country's export revenue dropped drastically, which was less than 15 percent of the GDP. Until our exports revenue is increased the economy will go through hardships, the Governor said.

The government is seeking to sell as much as US$ 3 billion in bonds in international markets this year after refinancing concerns prompted Fitch Ratings to downgrade the nation and for Standard & Poor to cut its rating outlook to negative.

The rupee is trading near a record low following worsening foreign-exchange reserves and a balance of payments crunch forced the Central Bank to stop propping up the currency.

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