July 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Central Bank today issued a statement to clarify recent media reports on the External Debt Statistics published in the Central Bank Annual Report 2013 and Public Debt Department's statement that Sri Lanka continues to improve on UN-ESCAP Parameters and has been categorized as 'less indebted'.
The Bank said media reports seem to have attempted to compare Public Debt Department (PDD) press release highlighting the improvements in government's external debt position against the outstanding external debt position of the country as presented in the Annual Report 2013.
PDD manages the government's external debt and reports its developments regularly to general public, the Bank said.
The Annual Report meanwhile gives details of the state of the economy and provides both government's external debt position and outstanding external debt position of the country on the basis of scope and objective of analysis presented.
Clarifying the country's external debt numbers, the Central Bank said the outstanding external debt position of the country as reported in the Annual Report of the Central Bank is the total of the outstanding position of the SDRs, intercompany lending and Direct Investment Public Debt Department Enterprises (DIEs), in addition to the external debt of the Government.
Pointing out the difference, the Central Bank said its Annual Report 2013 clearly highlights the balance sheet strength of external financing and the PDD press release discusses the improvements in government's external debt position.
The purpose of the previous press release issued by the PDD was to educate the public about the fact that the Central Bank has not deviated from internationally accepted compilation practices, the statement said.
Responding to a column written in Daily FT by W. A. Wijewardene, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank in charge of both Economic Research Department and PDD, the Central Bank said it is not correct to claim that one unit of Central Bank does is not known to another unit.
Both units were adopting the same practices in compiling and publishing country's external debt and central government's external debt, the Bank clarified.
The monetary authority highlighted that compilation methods have further been improved to incorporate new methods based on latest standards such as BPM6. Transparency of compilation methods, availability, and timeliness of data have also been improved significantly by the Central Bank in the recent years.
Read Full Statement here .