The Sri Lankan delegation will travel to Washington next week. They hope of obtaining up to $4 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund and other lenders to assist the island nation pay for food and fuel imports while avoiding debt defaults.
The team led by newly appointed Finance Minister Ali Sabry hopes to start talks with the lender of last resort on April 18 and secure aid as early as a week after negotiations.
“We need immediate emergency funding to get Sri Lanka back on track,” Sabry mentioned during an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday. He also said that “our appeal is to release it as soon as possible.”
There is political unrest in Sri Lanka, with citizens staging public rallies calling for Rajapaksa’s removal. The $81 billion economy faced $8.6 billion worth of debt obligations this year before it suspended payments on foreign loans to preserve cash to pay for essential food and fuel imports.
“With all their expertise we are looking at putting up a decent case for us, which will preserve the Sri Lankan economy,” Sabry mentioned.
Due to a lack of money from tourism, Sri Lanka has turned to countries such as China and India for assistance in recent times, amid a weak foreign-reserves position. According to Sabry, the country is also in talks with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for help.
Meanwhile, thousands of people are protesting against the government’s handling of a devastating economic crisis in Colombo. Protesters celebrated their traditional new year opposite the president’s office, where they have camped out for six days demanding his resignation.