Last Updated: July 20, 2022, 20:16 IST
The IMF hopes to complete the negotiations with Sri Lanka on a bailout package “as quickly as possible” and the “moment there is a government” in the country, its Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday, hours after the crisis-hit island nation elected a new president. Sri Lanka has been gripped by severe shortages of fuel, food, and other essentials after its foreign reserves dried up. Citizens have turned their anger on the government and forced once-powerful President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign last week.
On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Parliament elected Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe as his replacement. “IMF hopes to complete negotiations with Sri Lanka “as quickly as possible, & the moment there is a govt we can continue our discussions & our team will be there,” Georgieva said, Hiru News reported.
Wickremesinghe in his previous capacity as prime minister and finance minister has been involved in negotiations with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sri Lanka’s large creditors include Japan, China, and India.
The worst economic crisis since Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 also sparked a political crisis in the country after a popular uprising against the government of Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka needs about USD 5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been struggling with long queues, worsening shortages, and power cuts.
The country’s inflation topped 50 per cent in June after two years of money printing and an attempted float botched with a surrender requirement which sent the rupee sliding to 360 to the US dollar from 200. The economic crisis also sparked a political crisis in the country after a popular uprising against the government.