IMF Officials Visit Jaffna
January 16, Colombo (LNW): A team of senior officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), overseeing Sri Lanka’s USD 2.9 billion bailout program, recently visited the Tamil-dominated Northern district of Jaffna for the first time under the current agreement. Led by Peter Brueur, the IMF senior mission chief for Sri Lanka, the team engaged in discussions with Northern Province Governor PMS Charles and other officials on various issues.
The topics covered during the meetings included economic growth in the province, demining programs, resettlement of conflict-displaced individuals, compensation for conflict victims, educational matters related to Jaffna University, post-COVID operations, and the adverse effects of climate change in the northern region.
After their visit to Jaffna, the team returned to Colombo and is scheduled to engage with the finance ministry. Talks are expected to take place with Shehan Semasinghe, the state minister of finance, who leads the local IMF engagement under President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Discussions in Colombo are anticipated to focus on the targets outlined in the current IMF program, which advocates significant economic reforms in Sri Lanka.
During a meeting with President Wickremesinghe, Peter Brueur expressed satisfaction with Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing reforms aimed at revitalizing the economy. The IMF has commended Sri Lanka for its advancements in policy-oriented variables and fiscal consolidation. Sri Lanka, having declared its first-ever debt default in April 2022, secured the USD 2.9 billion IMF bailout agreement in the last quarter of 2022. The first tranche of USD 1.5 billion was released in March 2023, with the second installment of USD 337 million arriving in December 2023 following the first review.