Sri Lanka aims for December board approval of $2.9 billion IMF programme - sources

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LONDON : Sri Lanka expects the International Monetary Fund board to approve a $2.9 billion programme by the end of the year, central bank officials told overseas investors during a virtual presentation on the country's debt restructuring strategy on Friday.

The crisis-hit island nation also said it is promoting the formation of an ad-hoc bilateral creditor coordination platform to obtain financing assurances from official bilateral creditors, all according to sources participating in the event.

The move comes after the nation of 22 million reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for an extended fund facility programme on September 1.

Sri Lanka also needs to renegotiate debt with bilateral creditors such as China, Japan and India.

This is the first time the government is formally engaging with private bondholders after deciding earlier this year that it will restructure $13 billion in international sovereign bonds, held by private creditors such as asset managers BlackRock and Ashmore.

Total foreign currency debt of $38.7 billion amounts to 48.2 per cent of GDP, the latest IMF report showed in March.

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