Monday, 28 November, 2022
E-paper

Airline on the block in Sri Lanka reforms

 

Dozens of state-owned Sri Lankan companies employing tens of thousands of people could be restructured or closed as part
of an IMF bailout of the bankrupt country, with the country's airline top of the list for reform.

With nearly 6,000 staff, SriLankan Airlines is the biggest and most expensive of the cash-haemorrhaging, sclerotic companies that have drained the budget and compounded the worst financial crisis in national history.

According to treasury figures, the carrier was losing $4.50 for every dollar it earned at the start of this year. It has not turned a profit since 2008,
when its chief executive was sacked for offending the country's then-leader.

Sri Lanka defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is now neck- deep in the arduous process of renegotiating its obligations with creditors.

Its 22 million people suffered through months of food and fuel shortages, and at the peak of the crisis, a furious mob stormed government buildings and chased Sri Lanka's former president into exile.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given preliminary approval to a $2.9 billion bailout, and the government hopes to be able to access the first tranche by the end of the year.