Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe detailed that Sri Lanka needs over $6.9 billion to pay for essential items while another $1.3 billion is needed to boost reserves.
The announcement comes as the country traverses through one its worst economic crisis’ since gaining independence in 1948. Mr Wickremesinghe has been making swift changes since elected as PM, less than a month ago, including the suspension of ministerial salaries as well as cutting governmental expenses by 50 per cent.
He recently met with representatives from the Sri Lankan Joint Chambers in which he detailed several priorities for getting the country back on track.
“Discussion with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are proceeding, and we expect negotiations to conclude by the end of this month,” was the first point of the meeting.
He also said that the number one priority will be given to “overcome the food scarcity by securing fertiliser and compiling a food security program”. A bridging loan is currently in negotiations with India, while Mr Wickremesinghe has detailed that they “are working on repairing the relationship” with Japan.
Government expenditure rests at SLR 4 trillion, while government revenue is at 1.6 trillion with a budget deficit of SLR 2.4 trillion, equivalent to 13 per cent of the GDP.
On May 22, Sri Lank got over RS 2 billion worth of humanitarian aid from India that included medicine, rice, and milk powder. They’ve also received US$2 million worth of assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), while members of the QUAD (US, Japan, Australia, and India) have also pledged to assist with foreign aid.
Two shipments of fuel are on their way, expected to arrive June 16 and 21. At one point in the crisis, Sri Lanka only had a days’ worth of fuel in reserve.