Colombo: Economic crisis-hit Sri Lanka has urged India and China to agree a write-down of their loans to assist them to begin “repaying their obligations”.
The island nation, which has been for the previous a number of months dealing with one among its worst financial disaster since its independence in 1947, defaulted on its debt repayments. It has now negotiated a $2.9 billion bailout.
But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not going to be releasing funds until the time India and China agree to reduce Lanka’s debt.
Sri Lanka’s central bank governor P Nandalal Weerasinghe advised BBC Newsnight that the “sooner” India and China give it finance assurances that “would be better for both (sides), as a creditor, as a debtor. That will help us to start repaying their obligations.”
“We don’t want to be in this kind of situation, not meeting the obligations, for too long. That is not good for the country and for us. That’s not good for investor confidence in Sri Lanka,” he added.
Lending to Sri Lanka
India is owed by Sri Lanka round $1 billion, whereas China’s lending to the island nation stands at round $7 billion.
Initially the Sri Lankan authorities had hoped to agree a brand new fee plan with China and India by the top of 2022.
Sri Lanka is optimistic
Weerasinghe feels that there’s a chance that an settlement might come later this month (January, 2023), however added that “this all depends on the other parties — our creditors really have to make that decision”.
“Sri Lanka had now provided them with all the information on the country’s borrowings they needed,” the Sri Lanka’s central bank governor mentioned.
The US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung advised BBC Newsnight that between the 2 international locations, the best onus to transfer was on China because it being the largest bilateral lender.
“We hope that they do not delay because Sri Lanka does not have time to delay. They need these assurances immediately,” Chung mentioned.
Will Sri Lanka’s downside clear up?
If India and China in the end agree to write down their loans to Sri Lanka, there could also be one other downside that will loom within the type of non-public collectors, who account for 40 per cent of the nation’s exterior debt inventory.
A bunch of worldwide economists, earlier this month, known as for Sri Lanka’s bonds to be “cancelled”, writing: “All of Sri Lanka’s creditors must ensure debt cancellation sufficient to provide a way out of the current crisis.”
Talking about Sri Lanka’s non-public bondholders, Weerasinghe mentioned: “We engage with private creditors in good faith negotiations. And what we are seeing is that they are very positive and they are willing to engage with us.”
The governor mentioned he anticipated the IMF funds to be distributed to Sri Lanka inside “four to six weeks” as soon as settlement from bilateral collectors has been agreed.