Sri Lanka IMF program staff report released

Apr 20, 2012 (LBO) – In perhaps a new shift to transparency Sri Lanka has released an International Monetary Fund staff report prepared to support the 7th review under its program, after suppressing them for years. Sri Lanka ended up in a balance of payments crisis by trying to defend an exchange rate without tightening monetary policy, which is not possible in practice.

Under the current administration, quarterly staff reports of the program and even annual reports and selected issues documents prepared as part of annual ‘Article IV’ consultations have been suppressed from the public and markets for several years.

In the mid 1990s Sri Lanka became one of the few countries to release all IMF documents to the public, but the policy was later reversed in 2008.

In 2009 one report was released, after a long delay.

IMF has said that approval from the host country is needed to release report. Countries like Pakistan and Maldives are more transparent.

Economist Harsha de Silva, who is a lawmaker for the opposition has said that Sri Lanka’s authorities painted a rosy picture of the economy by suppressing alternative analysis such as from the IMF and ended up in a balance of payments crisis.