Train full of passengers in the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s main shipping port in Colombo. (Reuters Photo)
- Total external debt stood at US $ 25.61bn 12 months ago
- Overall outstanding govt. debt up 3.3% from December
- China and ADB two biggest lenders during Jan-April period
Sri Lanka’s total outstanding external debt stock has increased by 23.3 percent year-on-year (YoY) to US $ 31.6 billion at the end of April this year, compared to US $ 25.61 billion at the end of April 2017, according to 2018 Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report of the Finance and Mass Media Ministry.
The overall outstanding government debt stock has grown from Rs.10.313 trillion in December 2017 to Rs.10.654 trillion at the end of March this year, which translates into a 3.3 percent increase. The Finance and Mass Media Ministry noted that Sri Lanka has already completed 25 percent of external debt service payments for this year as of April 30, out of the estimated US $2,900.9 million overall debt service for 2018.
“Total debt service payments from 1st January to 30th April 2018 amounted to US$ 715.6 million, of which, US$ 390.2 million was in lieu of principal repayments and the balance US$ 325.4 million for the payment of interest,” the report said. The government has also utilized domestic borrowing to finance a part of foreign currency debt service payments during the period.
The total gross borrowing of the government during the four months of 2018 was Rs.670.9 billion, of which domestic borrowing amounted to Rs.534.9 billion while the foreign borrowing amounted to Rs.136 billion.
Meanwhile, China and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) were the biggest lenders to Sri Lanka contributing over half of the new commitments made during the January-April period while Australia and the United State were the largest donors.
Sri Lanka entered into ten agreements worth of US $ 266.2 million with foreign development partners and lending agencies to support public investment programmes, which included US $ 219.2 million in the form of loans (Official Development Assistance – ODA) and US $ 46.9 million by way of ODA grants and
China leads the ODA commitments during the period under review amounting to US$ 79.8 million, followed by the ADB (US$ 75million), India (US$ 45.3 million), Australia (US$ 25 million), USA (US$ 17.9 million), Austria (US$ 13 million), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (US$ 6.2 million), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (US$ 4 million) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (US$ 0.01 million), respectively.
The highest amount was committed for the railway sector, which was US $ 79.8 million from China, while the small and medium enterprises sector received commitments of US $ 75 million from the ADB.
In addition, total foreign financing disbursements made for development projects and programmes during the period from January 1 to April 30, 2018, amounted to US $ 512.1 million, which is also led by China and ADB.
The majority of the disbursements were from the loan agreements signed with the ADB, which is almost 45 percent, followed by China (18 percent) and Japan (11 percent).
The majority of the disbursements were in lieu of the projects implemented under the roads & bridges sector accounting for almost 27 percent, followed by the finance & governance sector at 24 percent, power & energy sector at 8 percent and SME sector at 7 percent.
As of April 30, 2018, the total undisbursed balance of foreign financing available from the already committed loans that are to be utilized in next 3-5 years stood at US$ 8,870.4 million.
Almost 28 percent or US$ 2,513.0 million has been committed for roads and bridges sector while US$ 2,070.5 million is committed to water supply and sanitation sector.