June 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is still negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package, and the first tranche may come in two months, a senior minister said, indicating that an unfinished economic agenda remained to be resolved. “We are still working things out; the doors are not shut yet,” Amunugama told LBO Wednesday on the sidelines of a conference on poverty organized by Sri Lanka’s Institute of Policy Studies, a semi-government think tank.
“We should get the funds in a two months time, so we’ll see.”
The IMF has also been insisting that a deal has not yet been finalized, though Sri Lankan authorities have previously indicated that agreement has been reached.
The central bank floated the rupee in March, which is a prior action to most IMF programs.
The US and the UK has been sabre rattling over the IMF loan, saying Sri Lanka’s ground situation should be looked at before approving a loan. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton went so far as to say in May that a loan was not appropriate at that time.
Yesterday a state department official said US was not blocking the loan but would “carefully assess” the loan based on the “conditions in Sri Lanka at the time.”