Sitharaman participates in event on Sri Lankan debt issues on sidelines of WB-IMF’s Spring Meeting

14 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Sitharaman World

The meeting's goal was to demonstrate multilateral cooperation among creditors in the debt restructuring process, in collaboration with Sri Lanka.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman attended a high-level meeting on Sri Lanka’s debt issues on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank (WB) Spring Meetings in Washington DC on Thursday (Local Time).

The meeting’s goal was to demonstrate multilateral cooperation among creditors in the debt restructuring process, in collaboration with Sri Lanka. The ministers announced the start of the debt restructuring negotiation process in Sri Lanka, with the three Co-Chairs – India, Japan, and France – leading the coordinated debt restructuring of Sri Lanka.

Aside from Sitharaman, the meeting also included Suzuki Shunichi, Japan’s Finance Minister, Emmanuel Moulin, France’s Director General of the Treasury, and Shehan Semasinghe, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Finance. Sri Lanka’s President and Finance Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, also took part in the event virtually.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that India is committed to assisting Sri Lanka in dealing with its current economic crisis. According to the release, she emphasised the importance of collaboration among creditors in order to ensure transparency and equality in the treatment of all creditors during debt restructuring discussions.

Under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India has always come forward to assist debt-ridden Sri Lanka, and in the most recent instance, New Delhi also distributed the ration in Kalmunai on March 16.

Previously, in February, the Union Finance Minister met with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, Milinda Moragoda, and discussed how to use the available resources in the 1 billion USD Indian line of credit to import urgently needed essential pharmaceuticals, which are in short supply in Sri Lanka, according to a press release from the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India.

Meanwhile, in the IMF-WB Spring Meetings, Sitharaman stated, “Despite this year’s projected growth rate of over 6 percent for the Indian economy, we remain concerned about the global economic outlook and geopolitical environment”, according to a tweet posted by the ministry of finance on Thursday.

During the meeting, the finance minister mentioned that the “Evolution of the World Bank Group – A Report to Governors” provides a historic opportunity for the World Bank Group to think collectively about its evolution.

According to the finance ministry’s tweets, Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the World Bank should continue to work towards its vision of ‘A World Free of Poverty,’ and that it should strive to achieve its mission of ‘ending extreme poverty’ and ‘promoting shared prosperity’ in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable manner.

The ministry also tweeted, “During her intervention, Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman suggested that the global public goods #GPG should also be brought into the focus as the third goal.”