Sri Lanka’s newly appointed prime minister has stated that the cash-strapped island nation has run out of petrol, and that the country urgently needs $75 million in foreign exchange in the coming days to pay for essential imports such as medicine.
He also stated that the government was unable to raise funds to pay for three oil shipments, with the ships awaiting payment outside the Colombo harbor before discharging their cargoes.
” The following couple of months will be the most irksome this country has anytime defied.” Obviously, this affects all aspects of life, not just the industrial and manufacturing sectors, but also daily life, children going to school, and every other aspect you can think of.
“People did not have a clear picture of how bad things were so far.” Reassurances from successive politicians did not help because people had a false sense of optimism that everything would be fine.
Wickremesinghe took office on Thursday, following the removal of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, following weeks of deadly protests over the government’s handling of the economic crisis.
In a desperate attempt to appease protesters, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa supplanted Mahinda, his senior sibling, with Wickremesinghe, a resistance parliamentarian who has held the position five times previously.
The crisis triggered widespread protests against President Rajapaksa and his family, culminating in Mahinda’s resignation as prime minister last week after deadly violence.
Protesters, however, have rejected Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister and continue to call for Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation. Dissidents and specialists have blamed the Rajapaksas for financial blunder, which has added to the emergency.
Despite acknowledging the difficult period ahead, the new leader urged people to “patiently bear the next couple of months” and promised to overcome the crisis.
He also stated that the government would be forced to print money in order to pay the salaries of 1.4 million civil servants in May.
He also warned that fuel and electricity prices would be significantly raised, and that his government would sell off its revenue-losing national carrier to reduce losses.
Meanwhile, in the capital, long lines of autorickshaws, the city’s most popular mode of transportation, waited for fuel at petrol stations.
“I’ve been in line for more than six hours,” one driver, Mohammad Ali, told Reuters. “We spend nearly six to seven hours in line just to get petrol,” he explained.
Another driver, Mohammad Naushad, reported that the gas station where he was waiting had run out of fuel.
“We’ve been here since 7-8 a.m. and it’s still unclear whether they’ll have fuel or not,” he said. “No one knows when it will arrive. Is there any point in our waiting here? We’re not sure.”
The essential Indian Ocean island country, where China and India are engaging for impact, is amidst an emergency exceptional since its freedom in 1948, inferable from the COVID-19 pandemic, rising oil costs, and egalitarian tax breaks by the Rajapaksas.
A chronic currency shortage has resulted in rampant inflation and shortages of medicine, fuel, and other necessities, prompting thousands to take to the streets in protest.
Wickremesinghe still can’t seem to name key clergymen, including the pivotal money serve, who will haggle with the International Monetary Fund for frantically required monetary help for the country.
Previous Finance Minister Ali Sabry had held starter chats with the multilateral moneylender, however he surrendered last week close by Mahinda Rajapaksa.
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