$1.34B World Bank loan

Sri Lanka has secured $1.34 billion in loans from the World Bank to boost the cash-strapped island’s economy over the next three years, the finance ministry said Saturday.

The loans would be at concessionary rates and repayments spread out over 15 years, the ministry said in a statement.

“This is a great victory for us and it will help us in the fiscal consolidation program

that the new government has started,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

There was no immediate comment from the World Bank.

The new government, which came to power in January last year, also secured a $1.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund in June after facing a balance of payments crisis.

The IMF last month described Sri Lanka’s performance since the rescue as “broadly satisfactory”, but said it needed to build its dwindling foreign reserves.

On Wednesday, the ports minister said talks were under way to sell part of Sri Lanka’s loss-making $1.4 billion harbor to a Chinese company in January to help pay off crippling debts. (AFP)

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