Image Source: New Process from Home
The supply of petrol for non-essential cars in Sri Lanka has been halted due to the country’s greatest economic crisis in decades.
Only buses, trains, and vehicles intended to deliver food and medical supplies will be permitted to refuel for the next two weeks. In addition, urban schools were closed, and authorities have ordered the 22 million people who live there to work from home.
The South Asian country is negotiating a bailout arrangement because it finds paying for imports like petrol and food difficult.
The government said on Monday that it will prohibit the purchase of gasoline and diesel for private automobiles until July 10.
A representative for the Sri Lankan cabinet, Bandula Gunewardena, claimed that Sri Lanka “had never encountered such a serious economic crisis in its history.”
In an effort to ensure affordable oil supplies, the cash-strapped nation has also despatched representatives to Russia and Qatar, two of the world’s top energy producers.
The pandemic, rising energy costs, and populist tax cuts have all had a significant negative impact on Sri Lanka’s economy. In addition, an extreme shortage of food, fuel, and medications has contributed to the cost of living reaching record highs because there aren’t enough foreign exchange reserves to pay for imports of necessities.
Officials said over the weekend that the nation only had 9,000 tonnes of diesel and 6,000 tonnes of gasoline to power critical services in the coming days. Under normal demand, it has been predicted that the inventories would only last for a few days.
According to senior economist Alex Holmes at Oxford Economics, fuel limitations are “yet another little symptom of a growing crisis.”
“Given that there were [large] lines of people waiting for fuel, mobility looks to have already been severely restricted. However, a total ban on private vehicles goes much further and will worsen the economic situation, “Added he.
For the first time in its history, the nation defaulted on its debts to foreign lenders in May.
An IMF delegation visited Sri Lanka last week to hold discussions about a $3 billion (£2.4 billion) bailout package.
Additionally, the administration is requesting aid from China and India to import necessities. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, stated earlier this month that the nation needs at least $5 billion over the following six months to pay for necessities like food, fuel, and fertilizer.
Amid worries about scarcity, the government has also recently urged farmers to increase their rice production and granted government employees an additional day off each week to cultivate crops.
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