The International Monetary Fund is ready to discuss “options” with Sri Lanka if the government asks for financial support, its mission chief for the island said on Thursday.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on Sri Lanka’s economy, which has been deprived of its tourism bonanza while workers’ remittances from abroad have fallen sharply.
“While the IMF has not received a request for financial support from Sri Lanka, the staff stands ready to discuss options if requested,” mission chief Masahiro Nozaki said in a written statement.
On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s finance minister announced the country had sought advice from the fund and was considering seeking an international bailout.
This “referred to an ongoing technical assistance mission by the IMF,” Nozaki said on Thursday.
“The mission aims to strengthen the Macro Fiscal Unit at the Ministry of Finance and focuses on training staff at the Unit, as part of our capacity development activities,” he added.
“The mission is being conducted virtually until February 9,” he said.
The IMF continues to “closely monitor economic and policy developments in Sri Lanka,” Nozaki added.
He said a fund team had visited Colombo in December last year as part of the annual bilateral discussions to review economic developments and policies.
A board meeting will be held at the end of February to review the latest economic data from the country.
- AFP with additional editing by Sean O’Meara