Sri Lanka set to meet budget deficit target: IMF

Feb 18, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government is likely to be able to meet the 2010 target for its budget deficit of eight percent of gross domestic product, a visiting International Monetary Fund official said. Brian Aitken, chief of the IMF review mission, said the island’s economic growth remained strong and there were no signs of inflationary pressure.

“The authorities continue to execute policies in line with the IMF programme’s goals,” he told a news conference.

“The performance against the end-December targets was satisfactory with the 2010 budget deficit likely to have been held within the target of eight percent of GDP.”

Though crops were damaged by recent monsoon floods given the strength of the economy overall impact on output should be limited, Aitken said.

The IMF mission has completed its review and is hoping to go to the IMF exeuctive board by late March or April to recommend the next tranche under the 2.6 billion US dollar loan.

The government’s structural reforms agenda is also broadly on track, Aitken said.

Although damage to infrastructure and crops from recent monsoon floods was “serious” it was unlikely to hurt growth or put pressure on prices.

“It will