ECONOMYNEXT – China has pledged an urgent emergency aid of RMB 200 million (around 10 billion rupees) to crisis hit Sri Lanka to buy rice, medicines, and other essentials, the island nation’s Foreign Ministry said.

The pledge came after Foreign Minister G L Peiris met Chinese Ambassador to Colombo Qi Zhenhong on Thursday (21).

“The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) has pledged an urgent emergency humanitarian aid of RMB 200 million to Sri Lanka, including 5000 tonnes of rice (with the previously announced 2000 tonnes), pharmaceuticals, production materials and other essentials,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Furthermore, the Yunnan Province has announced a donation of RMB 1.5 million worth of food packages to Sri Lanka.”

Peiris briefed the Ambassador on the measures in the process by the government to immediately overcome the prevailing situation, including the ongoing discussion with the IMF for financial assistance as well as reformulating Sri Lanka’s debt, the ministry said.

“Minister Peiris requested further assistance from China, particularly in the field of bridging finance during a difficult time.”

Qi assured that the Chinese Government would continue extending assistance to Sri Lanka in every possible way including direct Chinese Government support, regional Government support and support through Red Cross China, the ministry said.

Chinese pledge comes as India has pledged to lent Sri Lanka with over 2.5 billion US dollars including a 500 million US dollar credit line. Delhi government also has granted a 1 billion US dollar to import essentials from India.

Peiris on Wednesday said Sri Lanka is in talks for 2.5 billion US dollars with China to overcome the current crisis. China in the past has said it will help Sri Lanka to face the crisis.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has resulted in shortages of fuel, medicines, cooking gas, and milk powder as well as extended power cuts. (Colombo/Apr22/2022)