Sri Lanka’s previously distressed economy has registered positive growth for the first time since the onset of the economic crisis, as indicated by official data.
The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) revealed a 1.6% year-on-year GDP growth rate for the third quarter, marking a significant turnaround. Sri Lanka had experienced a staggering minus 8% growth when it declared bankruptcy in April 2022, maintaining negative growth from the fourth quarter of 2021.
Despite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) releasing the second tranche of its $2.9 billion bailout this week, it projects an overall negative growth for Sri Lanka in 2023. However, a positive growth trajectory is anticipated for the country’s economy in 2024.
Undergoing a rigorous IMF-based reform regime, Sri Lanka is navigating these changes amid criticisms and opposition. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, also serving as the finance minister, remains steadfast in pursuing reforms, acknowledging their importance despite public hardships.
The reform initiatives, alongside the challenges posed by a high cost of living, are poised to play a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s election year in 2024. President Wickremesinghe addressed Parliament this week, emphasizing the necessity of reforms despite the difficulties faced by the public. —PTI