May 30, Colombo: The International Monetary Fund denied that the lender has influenced the Sri Lankan government to reduce funding for free education as the Opposition has claimed.
Todd Schneider, Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Sri Lanka who is currently in the island for the Article IV consultations, stressed that IMF did not discuss any matters related to the education system of Sri Lanka with the government.
Speaking to media, the IMF mission chief said the IMF discussions were completely based on macro-economic matters and the country's education was not discussed in any of the previous discussions with the government.
Sri Lanka's Opposition and United National Party Leader recently accused the government of slashing funds for free education in the country on the recommendations by the IMF.
He said the government has signed a MoU with the IMF to reduce the resources for free education and an IMF delegation is in Sri Lanka at the moment to monitor the government's cost cutting measures.
IMF mission chief said Sri Lanka's Macro economic performance in last year has exceeded expectations with the real GDP growth reaching 7.3 percent while the inflation declined to below five percent.
He noted that the external current account has been strengthened supported by a robust recovery in goods exports as well as solid growth in services and inward remittances.
The IMF representative commended the government for containing the budget deficit to 5.9 percent of the GDP and projected the economy to grow at 7 percent this year, lower than the Central Bank's projection of 7.8 percent.
However, Schneider said his delegation pointed out to the government that a low tax revenue mobilization remains a concern.
The mission also announced that Dr. Eteri Kvintradze, currently the Resident Representative of the IMF in Bangladesh has been appointed as the IMF representative to Sri Lanka.