Drying Up

Aid flows fell sharply in the first five months as the government lost donor support due to policy about-turns.

Gross inflows in the first five months amounted to Rs. 28 bn with Rs. 98 bn being the target set by the previous government for this year.rn

rnNet borrowing to support the budget was expected to be Rs. 50 bn.rn

rnLast year the country recorded the highest loan disbursement in a fiscal year of nearly a billion US dollars or Rs. 100 bn.rn

rnUS dollar bonds issued recently at a higher servicing cost to the taxpayer is the first attempt by the government to bridge the aid shortfall.rn

rnA committee set up to monitor and speed up aid utilization, managed to increase the loan utilization rate to 20 percent of the total amount committed but un-disbursed.rn

rnDonors commended the high rate of usage in the context of the large amounts of aid money pledged at the conference in Tokyo. rn

rnBut the utilization figure for 2004 is likely to be dismal compared to last year with most key progr