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IMF chief Georgieva cites ‘fruitful exchange’ with China on debt issues

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International Monetary Fund Chief Kristlina Georgieva says she had a “fruitful exchange” with her Chinese counterparts on accelerating debt treatments for countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka.

Georgieva, World Bank President David Malpass and other financial leaders met in person in China’s Anhui province this week with officials from the People’s Bank of China, China’s finance ministry and its EXIM Bank and China Development Bank.

Georgieva said the discussions touched on the common framework for debt treatment set up in late 2020 by China, the United State and other Group of 20 major economies, as well as some specific cases of countries seeking debt relief.

Implementation of the common framework process has been halting, with only one country, Chad, having completed the debt treatment process, and its agreement not resulting in any actual reductions of the country’s debt.

Zambia is pushing hard to finish its debt restructuring in the first quarter of 2023.

“We need to build on the momentum of the agreement on Chad’s debt treatment and accelerate and finalize the debt treatments for Zambia and Sri Lanka, which would allow for disbursements from the IMF and multilateral development banks,” Georgieva said in a statement.

Georgieva said other countries also faced mounting debt distress given tightening global financial conditions.

“We talked about how we can prevent individual cases of debt distress from triggering a global debt crisis,” she said, calling again for quicker, more predictable progress on debt treatments and expansion of the framework to more countries.

Malpass, in his remarks at the meeting, said the discussions focused on the urgent need for more rapid progress on debt issues, adding, “Changes in China’s positions are critical in this effort.”

He welcomed support voiced by Premier Li Keqiang for a “systematic engagement on debt” during the meetings, and underscored the need for transparent disclosure of China’s loan contracts, and removal of non-disclosure and non-restructuring clauses and hidden collateral and escrow arrangements.

“Greater transparency will help investors make informed decisions, build trust, and accelerate the debt reconciliation and restructuring processes,” he said.

Georgieva said she saw “space for a platform for more systematic engagement on debt issues, where China can play an active role,” but gave no further details.

Source: Reuters

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No COVID-19 deaths yesterday

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No COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed yesterday (29) by the Director-General of Health Services.

Accordingly, the current COVID-19 death toll remains at 16,828.

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Racecourse murder : Boyfriend further remanded

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The university student who was held in remand custody for allegedly murdering his girlfriend with a sharp weapon at Race Course grounds in Colombo has been remanded further.

Taking up the case today (30) Colombo Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis ordered him to be further remanded till February 13.

The magisterial inquest into the death was held today before Colombo Chief Magistrate and

A testimony of the deceased’s father was recorded before Chief Magistrate and further magisterial inquiry was fixed for February 13.

The suspect was not produced before Court by prison authorities since he is currently receiving treatment at the Mental Health Unit of prison hospital.

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Constitutional Council approves several judicial appointments

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The Constitutional Council met today (30) in Parliament presided by Speaker and the Chairman of the Constitutional Council – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Sajith Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, other council members Dr. Prathap Ramanujam, Dr. (Mrs) Dilkushi Anula Wijesundere, Dr. (Mrs) Dinesha Samararatne were present at the Council meeting held.

MP Kabir Hashim, had informed his inability to attend this meeting due to unavoidable circumstances.

The Constitutional Council considered the recommendation of the President to appoint K.P. Fernando, President of the Court of Appeal as a Judge of the Supreme Court, to the post which fell vacant with the retirement of L.T.B. Dehideniya, Judge of the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Council unanimously approved the above recommendation.

Further the Constitutional Council unanimously approved the nomination of N.B.P.D.S. Karunarathna, Judge of the Court of Appeal to be appointed as the President of the Court of Appeal, and the nomination of Mr M.A.R. Marikkar, High Court Judge to be appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal to the resultant vacancies.  

The Constitutional Council further decided to publish the advertisement on newspapers of 1st February 2023, calling for applications for the appointment as Members of the Commissions specified in Schedule to Article 41B of the Constitution. Draft format of the application would be published on the Official Parliament website. The deadline to submit applications is 15th February 2023.

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