Washington [US]: Sri Lanka has asked for another one billion US dollar credit from India for imports as well as a 500 million US dollar loan for oil imports, Finance Minister Ali Sabry said as the country faces dire economic situation.
“The talks with India are very successful,” Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry told reporters in an online briefing speaking from Washington on Friday.
“In talks at the official level with the Honorable Finance Minister of India (Nirmala Sitharaman) it has been agreed to give 500 million US dollar facility for oil. In addition, we have asked for another billion US dollars for imports which they are considering,” he said, according to Economy Next, a Sri Lanka news outlet.
India has already announced another USD 1 billion as a credit to Sri Lanka to help shore up the sinking economy of the island nation. The USD 1 billion line of credit to Colombo will help in keeping their food prices and fuel costs under check.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is looking for investors that can bring in more than two billion US dollars into the central bank, Xinhua reported citing Finance Minister Ali Sabry.
Addressing the press from Washington on Friday, Sabry said that the next few months will be difficult for Sri Lankans.
“There is a need to attract investments in US dollars into Sri Lanka’s central bank,” he said, adding that the government is talking with several countries to get funds as soon as possible.
“If that effort is successful and money comes to the central bank, it will help stop the depreciation and stabilize the rupee,” he said, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Last week, the Sri Lankan government decided to suspend repayment for all debts for an interim period till it has an orderly and consensual debt restructuring programme supported by the International Monetary Fund.
Sri Lanka is now facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948.
The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a clampdown on tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. It left the country unable to buy enough fuel, with people facing an acute scarcity of food and basic necessities, heating fuel, and gas. (ANI)