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Business chambers hail Government’s achievement

IMF Stand-by facility :

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 20-month Stand-By Arrangement for Sri Lanka in an amount equivalent to SDR 1.65 billion (about US$2.6 billion) to support the country’s economic reform program last Friday.

Speaking to Daily News Business leading business chambers in the country hail this achievement and stress the importance of better utilization of these funds in economic development in the country.

Chairman Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Dr. Anura Ekanayake said we are pleased that despite various obstacles Government of Sri Lanka managed to obtain this loan with favourable interest rate. At a time like this it is better to borrow from this source than other commercial sources, he said. He said this is a significant achievement by the Government and we hope this will go ahead with country’s development activities.

President Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Kosala Wickramanayake said the business community is happy about this achievement even though it took some time. This will help economic development in the country and Sri Lanka also needs to focus on maintaining strong foreign reserves for facilitating economic development in the country, he said.

Chairman of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Newton Wickremasuriya said it is timely and the country needs this kind of assistance. We expect that these funds will put to good use which targets development activities in the country and hope this will go long way till it benefit the country at a large.

President of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Small Industry Aloy Jayawardene said that this is a fantastic achievement for Sri Lanka. The country defeated terrorism recently. Now Sri Lanka needs to focus on reconstruction and development of North-East and accelerate economic development in the country, he said.

Some countries did not support the obtaining of this loan to Sri Lanka and this is a great achievement to the Government. Now we need to ensure the proper utilization of these funds. The SME sector in the country plays a pivotal role in the economic development and the Government needs to facilitate this segment too, he said.

Upon the Executive Board’s approval, an amount equivalent to SDR 206.7 million (about US$322.2 million) becomes immediately available to Sri Lanka.

The remaining amount will be phased in, subject to quarterly reviews. The total amount of IMF resources made available under the arrangement equals 400 percent of the country’s quota, said IMF media release last Friday.

The key objectives of the authorities’ economic reform program supported by the Fund are to strengthen the country’s fiscal position while ensuring the availability of resources for much needed post-conflict reconstruction and relief efforts.

The program is also intended to rebuild international reserves and strengthen Sri Lanka’s domestic financial system, and to protect the most vulnerable in the country from the burden of the needed economic adjustment. The program aims to lay a strong macroeconomic foundation that will help the authorities approach the broader international community for financial support in post-conflict reconstruction, media release said.

(AS)

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