By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Sri Lanka has already met 33 of the around 100 commitments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme at present and it has fulfilled all prior actions to obtain EFF and fulfilled follow up actions that should be completed before September this year, a former finance ministry secretary who was involved in previous IMF negotiations said.
He added that the government is determined to strictly adhere to this IMF economic reforms program or bypassing economy to save the dying economy at present.
One commitment, the establishment of an online fiscal transparency platform, was still to be met.
Another unmet commitment was parliamentary approval of the new Central Bank Act, prepared in consultation with IMF staff. Even though a bill was published on 7 March, an amendment to the act has not been made.
“IMF welcomes the authorities’ ongoing efforts in meeting key commitments under the Fund-supported program. Performance under the program will be formally assessed in the context of the first review of the Extended Fund Facility arrangement, which is expected to be undertaken in September 2023”, IMF sources said.
Sri Lanka had verifiably met 33 of the trackable program commitments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program as at the end of June 2023 but had failed eight, according to the ‘IMF Tracker’, an online tool launched by Verité Research.
Growing number of failed commitments, the number of unfulfilled commitments doubled from four (including one partially met) in May, to eight in June 2023.
These include, obtaining Cabinet approval for the restructuring plan of key State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), enacting new anti-corruption legislation, publishing the annual reports of all 52 major SOEs for 2022, and preparing a plan to gradually eliminate import restrictions.
Sri Lanka is mostly failing in two areas: the passage of legislation, and information dissemination. Between March and June, the country committed to enact three significant laws: a revision of betting and gaming levies, enactment of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act, and a new Anti-Corruption Act. Drafts of these Bills were published on the website of the Printing Department on 4 April, 7 March, and 27 April 2023, respectively. However, these drafts are still pending Parliamentary approval and enactment.
On the information dissemination front, three primary commitments remain unfulfilled. The first is the establishment of a fiscal transparency platform, to semi-annually publish significant public procurement contracts, a list of firms receiving tax exemptions through the Board of Investment, and a list of individuals and firms receiving tax exemptions on luxury vehicle imports. This remains undone.
The second commitment pertains to the publication of annual reports for all 52 major SOEs up to 2022. A recent infographic by publicfinance.lk revealed that only 11 out of the 52 key SOEs have published their annual reports up to 2022. This lack of information dissemination can also be seen in the non-publication of a plan to phase out import restrictions.
Lack of Information is also a concern. As at end June, the commitments classified as “unknown”, where the information required to make an assessment was not available, had risen to 14%, more than double the percentage of the previous month (6%).