Sri Lanka Out of Petrol, Says Prime Minister

Sri Lanka has reportedly run out of petrol, according to its prime minister.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, appointed prime minister, said in an address on Thursday that the island nation’s economy is in a precarious condition.

“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” Wickremesinghe said.

Wickremesinghe said that the country urgently needed $75 million to afford essential imports. The prime minister noted that inflation will likely go up in the short term since the central bank is forced to print money to pay salaries and for essentials.

Wickremesinghe noted that two shipments of petrol and two of diesel are due to arrive using an Indian credit line and provide relief in the next few days.

Sri Lanka is also facing a shortage of 14 essential medicines, according to Wickremesinghe.

People in Colombo have been queuing for hours in long lines, hoping to get fuel from gas stations that are already running dry. This comes amid the country’s worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.

“In November 2019, our foreign exchange reserves were at $7.5 billion. However, today, it is a challenge for the Treasury to find $1 million. The ministry of finance is finding it difficult to raise $5 million required to import gas,” Wickremesinghe said.

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