Minister concludes successful Washington tour
Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama who met World Bank President
James Wolfensohn in Washington on Monday discussed the mechanisms in
place to implement the country's tsunami reconstruction and
rehabilitation efforts and the Development Forum of Donors to be held in
Kandy in mid May 2005.
The Minister also expressed Sri Lanka's appreciation for Wolfensohn's
personal involvement in assisting Sri Lanka's recovery efforts. The
World Bank President stated that the model of making disbursements
through the banking system, which has worked well in Sri Lanka, could be
adopted in other similar World Bank projects as well.
Minister Amunugama, who was in Washington to attend the G-24, IMFC
(International Monetary and Financial Committee) and Development
Committee (DC) meetings of the IMF and World Bank, concluded his six day
visit, receiving assurances of support from senior officials of the two
multilateral aid agencies as well as a number of friendly countries.
Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Takatoshi Kato, congratulated the
visiting Minister for the success of the immediate relief effort in the
aftermath of tsunami. Kato also indicated that the IMF would help the
Government in its efforts to ensure economic stability and growth.
Minister Amunugama expressed the gratitude of the Government for
assistance of the IMF provided through US $110 million as deferment of
debt repayment and another US$ 158 million granted under the Emergency
Natural Disaster Assistance (ENDA) facility.
The Minister informed Vice President, South Asia Region of the World
Bank Praful Patel that the revised Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme
(PRSP) would be finalised in the coming weeks.
Minister Amunugama also held several bilateral discussions with his
counterparts in his tour. Discussions with Indian Finance Minister P.
Chidambaram focused on the growing economic ties between the two
countries in the context of the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement.
Chidambaram assured the Indian Government's continued support for Sri
Lanka and indicated that the ongoing policy dialogue would be
Meanwhile, the Under Secretary for Finance of the Federal Republic of
Germany, Caio Koch Weser requested the Minister to convey special needs
identified in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase to the German
Minister of Development for further assistance.
The Ministers meeting with the Deputy Finance Minister of Japan
Hiroshi Watanabe focused on Sri Lanka's existing strong bilateral
relations and the need to further enhance trade relations between the
During his stay in Washington Minister Amunugama also met with
Representative Jerry Weller, (R-Illinois) and Representative Joseph
Crowley (D- New York). The Minister urged the support of the Congress in
securing special trade concessions particularly for Sri Lanka's apparel
exports to the US, that would help the Sri Lankan economy in this hour
Meeting Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge
Corporation (MCC) Paul Applegarth, Dr. Amunugama discussed moving
forward on the present Sri Lanka MCC Concept Paper focusing on
development of the rural sector.