Newly appointed Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said that the cash-strapped island country runs out of petrol stock. Furthermore, he said that the nation desperately required to secure around $75 million in foreign exchange in the coming days to pay for essential imports such as medicine. On Monday, during his address to the nation, the prime minister said that his country had run out of petrol and left stock for only one day.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, the new Sri Lankan PM, said the crisis-hit country was down to its last day of petrol, as Kanchana Wijesekera, country’s Ministry of Power and Energy, told people not to join long fuel queues that’ve galvanized several days antigovernmental demonstrations. pic.twitter.com/snu2vjf5h9
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Sri Lanka suffers from medicine and fuel shortages for the last few days since the country officially announced its bankruptcy. Furthermore, he said that the government could not raise dollars to pay for three oil shipments. The ships carrying oil await outside the Colombo harbor for payments from the Sri Lankan government before unloading their cargoes. Wickremesinghe said that the central bank would have to print Sri Lankan currency to pay government wages.
Additionally, the prime minister announced that they might privatize state-owned Sri Lankan Airlines. The coronavirus pandemic badly hit the economy of the country, which results in rising energy prices and populist tax cuts. A prolonged shortage of foreign currency and rising inflation led to a severe lack of medicines, fuel, and other essentials. Wickremesinghe said that against his wishes, he made to permit printing of Sri Lankan currency to pay state-sector workers and different needs.
Economic Crisis and Mismanagement
Wickremesinghe told BBC News that the economic crisis of the country is going to get worse before it gets better. The Sri Lankan leader also appealed to the world for additional financial support to overcome the likely hunger crisis and find food for the nationals. Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the prime minister’s office amid the weeks-long protests over the government’s mishandling of the economic crisis, which turned deadly. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka replaced Mahinda, his elder brother.
Moreover, the crisis led to widespread protests against Rajapaksa and his family, ending in the resignation of Mahinda as prime minister following deadly violence. However, protestors rejected the appointment of Wickremesinghe as the new prime minister and kept on their demand for the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Experts and the protestors accused the Rajapaksas of economic mishandling leading to the crisis.