DAA Daily

Sri Lanka Faces Last Day of Petrol, Says Prime Minister

Natalie Shomali, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, states that the in-crisis country faces its last day of petrol. 

He included that Sri Lanka required $75 million of foreign currency in order to successfully pay for necessary imports, saying that the upcoming months will be the “most difficult ones of our lives.”

This crisis was seen in Colombo streets when drivers waited in hour-long queues just for fuel. 

“I have been in the queue for more than six hours,” one of the drivers, Mohammad Ali, said. “We spend almost six to seven hours in the line just to get petrol.”

The country meets a $6.8 billion budget deficit, which is over 2 trillion in Sri Lankan rupees. This marks Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis in 70 years.

The economy in the country has plummeted due to the pandemic, and rising energy prices have not helped the situation. The extreme inflation and shortage of foreign exchange have caused major shortages in medicine, fuel, and additional goods.

“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” Wickremesinghe said. 

He was appointed Prime Minister on Thursday after protests over the government’s handling of the crisis forced his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa out of office.

Relief will be given for the next couple of days from petrol and diesel shipments provided by an Indian credit line. However, the country is short on 14 essential medicines. 

India has supplied Sri Lanka with aid many times in the past. It has given the country medications and food, in addition to loans and financial assistance.

Many protests have been held against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and his family. Wickremesinghe warned citizens not to engage in these anti-government protests. 

Last week, government enthusiasts and protestors clashed during a protest, leading to nine deaths and over three hundred injuries of citizens. 

He also claimed to be printing more money and attempting to privatize state-owned airlines in order to maintain a stable economy, while warning that inflation would increase for a short time.

It was added that citizens would undergo power outages that last for up to 15 hours per day, and that public transportation, agriculture, and industrial production would all be inconvenienced. 

“Against my own wishes, I am compelled to permit printing money in order to pay state-sector employees and to pay for essential goods and services,” stated Wickremesinghe. 

The Prime Minister promised to build a country “without queues for kerosene, gas, and fuel,” but rather one with “plentiful resources.”

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