SL hold discussions with IMF and World Bank on near-term economic outlook

20 February 2015 - 132   - 0

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake recently held discussions with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde on the economic developments in the country and the near- term outlook. During his visit to Washington , Minister Karunanayake also met with the World Bank's Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati. Minister Karunanayake briefed both the Managing Director of the World Bank and Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the new government's policy agenda aimed at long-term sustainable development and inclusive growth following the 100 day programme of the Government which has specific tasks to be accomplished. He emphasized that steps have already been taken to eliminate wasteful expenditures and corruption. Meeting with the IMF director, Minister emphasized the urgent need for increasing government revenue and simplifying country's tax administration with tax reforms for passing benefits of the development to all Sri Lankans. Issuing a joint statement after their meeting in Washington, the IMF Head and Sri Lankan Minister said they had a "fruitful" discussion about recent economic developments in Sri Lanka and the near-term outlook. They said the discussions will continue in the context of the next regularly scheduled Post-Program Monitoring mission led by Todd Schneider, which will visit Sri Lanka from February 23 through March 4. IMF Asia and Pacific Department Director Changyong Rhee will also join the mission to meet with senior officials. "The Post-Program Monitoring mission is expected to be followed by IMF technical assistance missions focused on tax policy and administration, public financial management, and financial sector supervision," the joint statement said. The Management level dialogue will be continued on the occasion of the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in April. The World Bank Managing Director Indrawati welcomed the new government's emphasis on improving governance, transparency and accountability and assured the World Bank's continued assistance to Sri Lanka in its development efforts, including during this critical transformation period. She assured that the World Bank would favorably consider request for program support under its Development Policy Loan (DPL) scheme. Highlighting the importance of close partnership between Sri Lanka and the World Bank and Managing Director Indrawati echoed the importance of the visit by Bank's Vice President for South Asia Region Annette Dixon and team currently in Sri Lanka for ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan Authorities. Minster Karunanayake appreciated Managing Director Indrawati's offer of assistance and invited her to visit Sri Lanka at an early date. Minister Karunanayake also met senior officials of the US Treasury and discussed developments in Sri Lanka. The Minister sought US technical assistance for capacity building in tax reforms, Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington said. Assistant US Treasury Secretary Ramin Toloui has assured that official level discussion will continue to identify specific areas for technical assistance. During the visit, Minister Karunanayake has met with Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia and reiterated that the Government will ensure an inclusive political culture and good governance. The Government will focus on sustainable development with the assistance both bilateral and multilateral partners. Assistant Secretary Biswal welcomed the positive initiatives taken by the new government towards an inclusive society in Sri Lanka. Finance Minister Karunanayake held meetings with the senior officials of the Department of Global Economics and Finance at the White House to discuss recent economic developments in Sri Lanka and briefed White House officials of the Government's inclusive and sustainable economic policies based on good governance. Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam accompanied the Minister at these meetings.

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