To overcome Forex crisis: Seeking IMF assistance advisable – Amaraweera

Mahinda Amaraweera

Minister of Environment, Mahinda Amaraweera said the Government would have to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome the Forex crisis.

He also said Cabinet would meet next week with the participation of the Governor of the Central Bank and the Secretary to the Treasury to make a final decision as to whether or not to seek IMF assistance.

He said there was no harm in obtaining IMF assistance as it has been known to be flexible in its approach whereby the Government could consider it favourably. Explaining one of the proposals that the IMF would present, he pointed out an apparent precondition would be to privatise State institutions that incur heavy losses or make marginal profits.

He stated there is nothing wrong with privatising SriLankan Airlines or some hotels that are run with State funds. He also pointed out the Government may object to IMF efforts to privatise certain State institutions such as the Ceylon Electricity Board or the National Water Supply and Drainage Board.

“The IMF usually lays down negotiable terms and conditions. Another reason I believe seeking IMF assistance is advisable is that the level of corruption in managing IMF grants would be relatively low. The IMF keeps track on Government spending with little or no room for waste. So it is justifiable to obtain their assistance to overcome the Forex issue and such a decision would not jeopardise the nation’s sovereignty,” he said.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Thameenah Razeek)