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Sri Lanka crisis

Sri Lanka budget designed to impress IMF earns mixed grades

Experts say package meets some aims but question spending, including defense

Workers transport sacks of rice at a marketplace in Colombo on Nov. 14, as the government aims to guide the country out of its economic crisis.   © AP

COLOMBO -- As Sri Lankans tighten their belts amid an economic crisis that has compelled many families to live on just one meal a day, President Ranil Wickremesinghe this week presented a 2023 budget designed to help unlock a crucial $2.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Analysts say the package is broadly in line with what the lender expects, but add that it may include a dose of delusion and stress that the proof will be in the implementation. The president's spending plans, including a relatively hefty outlay on defense, also raised eyebrows.

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