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Sri Lanka runs out of petrol

Sri Lanka announced that it ran out of petroleum reserves and could not find the financial source to import essential items.

“We have run out of petrol, just have enough fuel for one day,” Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today, saying the government could not raise enough foreign currency to pay for three oil tankers anchored outside the port. Colombo and warned the country may face more difficulties in the near future.

Cars and motorbikes wait in line to buy gasoline in the capital Colombo on May 15.  Photo: AFP

Cars and motorbikes wait in line to buy gasoline in the capital Colombo on May 15. Image: AFP

Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis in its history. 22 million people live with severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine, record inflation and prolonged power outages.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe took office on May 12 after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned under the pressure of a wave of protests over the failure to resolve the economic crisis. “The next few months will be the most difficult months of our lives. I don’t want to hide the truth and lie from the people,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister urged people to “suffer patiently for the next few months” and pledged to lead the country through the crisis, while announcing the government budget had run out of cash to pay May wages for 1.4 million civil servants and will have to choose to print more money.

Mr. Wickremesinghe warned of increasing fuel and electricity taxes, selling off the loss-making national carrier. Sri Lanka is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to receive a support package. The loan condition was that the government divest loss-making state-owned enterprises, including Sri Lanka Airlines, the national air transport company with accumulated losses of more than $1 billion.

Hong Hanh (According to AFP)

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