By Anadolu Agency Staff
ANKARA (AA) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $2.9 billion bailout request for crisis-hit Sri Lanka, according to the country’s authorities and the IMF.
"The program will allow Sri Lanka to access financing of up to US$7 billion from the IMF, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and multilateral organizations," a statement by President Ranil Wickremesinghe's office said.
"IMF board has approved our EFF. It’s been a long road but thanks to everyone's hard work and dedication, we're well on our way towards better days!" Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry wrote on Twitter. "Thank you all creditors and the President for his relentless pursuit of this vital mission!"
An IMF statement said its Executive Board approved "today a 48‑month extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with an amount of SDR 2.286 billion (395 percent of quota or about US$3 billion)."
It also said the EFF-supported program aims to "restore Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, mitigate the economic impact on the poor and vulnerable, safeguard financial sector stability, and strengthen governance and growth potential."
"For Sri Lanka to overcome the crisis, swift and timely implementation of the EFF-supported program with strong ownership for the reforms is critical," said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in the statement.
Earlier this month, Georgieva welcomed the progress made by Sri Lankan authorities in taking decisive policy actions and "obtaining financing assurances from all their major creditors, incl. China, India & the Paris Club."
In September last year, the IMF said it had reached a staff-level agreement to support crisis-hit Sri Lanka with an EFF of about $2.9 billion.
Crippled by a shortage of foreign exchange reserves after the collapse of the tourism-dependent economy, the country of 22 million defaulted on all its foreign debt in 2021.
It has been unable to pay for food, fuel and other necessities, with a fuel shortage causing daily power outages.
Last July, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as president of the country, which is grappling with its worst financial crisis.