Jan 14, Colombo: The meeting between a high level Sri Lankan delegation and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde scheduled for Monday has been postponed due to a snowstorm in Washington.
A member of the delegation, non-cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva tweeted that all the meetings at the IMF including Sri Lankan delegation's meeting with Lagarde had been rescheduled as the snowstorm hit the US capital over the weekend.
The first major snowstorm of the year in the Washington, DC area on Sunday Saturday night and Sunday brought up to 7 inches of snow forcing the federal government and other offices to shut down on Monday.
The Sri Lankan delegation led by the Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera is in Washington to hold discussions with the IMF to get the External Fund Facility (EFF), which was put on hold due to the political crisis, back on track.
In addition to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the delegation is expected to meet with Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Director, Asia Pacific Department Chanyong Rhee, Team Leader Manuel Goretti, and other members of the IMF Sri Lanka Team.
The Finance Minister's delegation to IMF also includes the Governor of the Central Bank, Secretary to the Treasury and other key officials of the Central Bank and the Treasury.
The IMF put on hold the program discussions on the 5th review of the Extended Fund Facility when President Maithripala Sirisena precipitated an unprecedented political crisis on October 26 ousting the incumbent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who was backing social market economic policies.
Sri Lanka's three-year extended arrangement was approved on June 3, 2016, in the amount of about US$ 1.5 billion and with the latest tranche disbursed in June 2018, the IMF has disbursed about US$ 1.014 billion.
After completion of the fifth review Sri Lanka is expected to receive a sixth tranche of about $250 million. The total loan was expected to have been disbursed with a seventh tranche by mid-2019.
Minister Dr. de Silva recalled that the repayment of USD 1 billion International Sovereign Bond borrowed during the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is due to be paid on Monday upon maturity.
The Governor of Sri Lanka Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the $1 billion five-year sovereign bond will be paid entirely from the country's reserves, after three state-run banks failed to raise funds from foreign sources.