Sri Lanka gets more time to repay Bangladesh’s $200m loan

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Bangladesh has given Sri Lanka another six-month extension to pay back the USD 200 million loan obtained from the country in May 2021, according to a report.

Dhaka Tribune reported that earlier, the Sri Lanka’s Central Bank sought time from Bangladesh to make the first installment of the $200 million credit by March this year, hoping that it would be able to restructure its debt by then.

However, the restructuring was not done.

Now, Sri Lanka is seeking six more months and said it would make its first installment by August this year and another installment by September, said Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder.

Speaking to a group of journalists after a meeting with P Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at the 2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington on Friday, Talukder said the Sri Lankan governor confirmed that they would need no further extension.

Talukder added that an extension of a loan repayment period is not free of cost and will add more interest.

Sri Lanka, facing its worst economic crisis in history, borrowed the fund in May 2021.

Colombo could not start repaying the loan and announced its external debt default in April of 2022 amid a deepening crisis.

The loan repayment period has been extended thrice.

As per the agreement with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh was supposed to receive an interest payment of Libor plus 2% if the amount was returned in three months.

The three-month Libor averaged around 0.53% in 2021.

Last month, Sri Lanka secured a $2.9 billion program from the IMF to tackle its huge debt burden.

The country owes $7.1 billion to bilateral creditors, with $3 billion owed to China, followed by $2.4 billion to the Paris Club, and $1.6 billion to India, said Reuters on Friday.

The government also needs to renegotiate more than $12 billion of debt in Eurobonds with overseas private creditors, and $2.7 billion on other commercial loans.

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