ADB’s program will help strengthen the stability and governance of Sri Lanka’s banking sector, improve its asset quality and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance particularly for women-led micro, small and medium enterprises – Photo courtesy Sankha Thilakarathne/RDB Bank
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday it has approved a $ 200 million concessional loan to the Government of Sri Lanka to help stabilise the country’s finance sector following the sovereign debt and economic crises that started in April 2022 when it suspended its external debt payments.
The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of $ 200 million each. Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilisation and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.
The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilisation, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.
“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono. “The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”
The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023. It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability. It is also in line with the Government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macro prudential authority.
In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.
The loan is accompanied by a $ 1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.