By Uditha Jayasinghe
COLOMBO (Reuters) -Sri Lanka is completing the pre-requisites to unlock a $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and expects rapid approval from the global lender, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday.
“We are successfully completing the difficult stage required to get support from the International Monetary Fund. We expect to get their consent without delay,” Wickremesinghe said in his address to the nation to mark the 75th Independence Day.
Sri Lanka, caught in the worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948 triggered by a severe shortage of dollars, has seen steep inflation, a currency plunge and its economy slide into recession.
The island of 22 million people has also been hit by high taxes, a shortage of essential items such as medicine and fuel, and daily power cuts.
Wickremesinghe, who took over after his predecessor fled the country…