Sri Lankan economy on the mend, says senior Japanese diplomat
By Sheain Fernandopulle
While commending the efforts of the Sri Lankan government to bring in new reforms to stabilise the economy, Minister/deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka, Katsuki Kotaro, acknowledged the marked improvement in the economy since the crisis. Addressing the post-business session of the 41st Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association on Thursday (16), Kotaro said, “Looking at the economy, I think things have stabilised considerably.” “If we look at the prices, of course, they’re still high but I think inflation has already kind of curved—it’s curving up and also with that, the interest rate is coming down. So, with a view of how much we have moved forward from last year, I think it’s fair to say that the economy of this country is doing much better and is doing quite well,” he underscored. “One of the backgrounds to that, of course, is the efforts of the Sri Lankan government but also, hand in hand with that, the IMF assistance programme started to run from this March and also in parallel with that, we are working on the debt restructuring process and the foreign debt of Sri Lanka,” he added. In terms of restructuring the debt, he stated that Sri Lanka has been witnessing certain progress. “Japan, under the request of the president, is now co-chairing this official credit committee and together with France and also India, we are working on the government credit side.” Furthermore, he expressed confidence that the IMF would unleash the second round of assistance money to Sri Lanka. “It’s not just that the money will unlock other co-financing by the World Bank, ADB. And also, once the debt is restructured, the financial creditors like Japan or India or whoever will also be in a position to resume or start loan projects,” he added.