Obtaining IMF’s third tranche increasingly challenging – State Minister

Obtaining IMF’s third tranche increasingly challenging – State Minister

April 1, 2024   09:30 pm

Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe emphasized the significant progress made under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, affirming his capability to tackle the country’s economic crisis effectively. 

Stressing the necessity of President Wickremesinghe’s continued leadership, Semasinghe cautioned against the misconception that anyone could manage the country’s affairs, highlighting the unique expertise and suitability of President Wickremesinghe for the task.

The Finance State Minister further announced that following the distribution of relief benefits to 2.4 million “Aswesuma” recipients, plans are underway to conduct a follow-up survey. These statements were made by the State Minister during a press briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre today (01), focusing on the theme “Collective Path to a Stable Country.”

Expressing his views further, State Minister Semasinghe said, “Following the call for applications for the “Aswesuma” second phase, authorities anticipate receiving around 400,000 submissions. This will complete the provision of insurance for 2.4 million beneficiaries. 

However, it is important to note that a revaluation survey will be carried out for the 3.4 million individuals who applied during the first settlement since last May. Additionally, a comprehensive survey is underway for the newly submitted 400,000 applications. These efforts are aimed at enhancing the selection process to ensure that the subsidy reaches the appropriate recipients.”

“We also aim to conduct a post-selection survey on the 2.4 million “Aswesuma” beneficiaries. This survey will focus on understanding how they utilized the funds provided by the “Aswesuma”. Additionally, we seek to evaluate the impact of this support on potential empowerment programs in the future. Special attention will be given to the specific benefits they gained from this assistance.”

“We have diligently worked towards revitalizing a country that experienced six consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. The economy has shown signs of improvement, particularly in the third and fourth quarters of 2023. This positive turn of events is attributed to the country’s adherence to recognized financial discipline, facilitated by collaborative efforts between the administration of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Despite the ongoing challenges faced by the population, there has been a methodical reduction in the overall economic burden.”

“In the latest economic report, it’s noted that inflation has decreased by 0.9% over the past month. This positive trend is seen as a step towards strengthening the rupee and creating a favorable environment for consumer benefits. Currently, prices are showing signs of stabilization, indicating a more balanced economic situation.”

“Amidst discussions and criticisms about the economy, the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe has been pivotal. The progress achieved under his guidance highlights his capability and suitability in addressing the country’s economic challenges. The President’s skillful handling of the economic crisis has been widely praised, underscoring the necessity for his ongoing leadership to steer the country towards economic stability and growth.”

“Despite the progress made by the country, some individuals have been led to believe that anyone could effectively govern the nation. However, it is important to note that such a notion is inaccurate and misguided.”

“The current stability and positive trajectory have been the result of meticulous planning and strategic decisions. It is widely believed that by staying the course with the current program, the country can surpass a 2% economic growth rate in the year 2024. This optimistic outlook underscores the significance of maintaining effective leadership and prudent economic strategies moving forward.”

“Although the exchange rate has strengthened and inflation has dropped significantly from 70% to 5%, there have been public complaints about not seeing the benefits of these reduced prices. This issue has emerged due to unregulated prices in the black market. To address this, the Minister of Commerce has announced plans to launch a weekly notification system for wholesale prices starting next week. This move is aimed at enhancing transparency in wholesale pricing, allowing the public to have a clearer understanding and estimation of retail prices.”

“Furthermore, substantial progress has been made in the debt restructuring program. The second review with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was finalized two weeks ago and has been approved at the staff-level. However, obtaining the third instalment has become increasingly challenging.”

--PMD

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