Navigating Sri Lanka's Debt: Better reporting can help – a case study on China debt = ශ්රී ලංකාවේ ණය කළමනාකරණයට නිවැරදි වාර්තාකරණයේ වැදගත්කම – චීන ණය පිළිබඳ සිද්ධි අධ්යයනයක්
de Mel, Nishan
SeriesBriefing Note;February 2021
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The published information on debt underestimates Sri Lanka’s overall external public debt burden and its distribution amongst external lenders. This problem arises because Sri Lanka’s reporting of external debt is limited to debt held directly by the central government and excludes debt held by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This reporting problem is especially evident when estimating Sri Lanka’s overall debt obligations to China, since much of Sri Lanka’s debt from China is placed on the books of Sri Lanka’s SOEs. It also exposes a loophole by which debt statistics can be manipulated, and even miscounted, in the midst of such manipulations.
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