Sri Lanka has only five days of petrol and diesel left. Power and Energy Minister gave this information on Thursday. If it doesn’t get a new $500 million line of credit from India, the crisis will deepen. The country of 22 million people is grappling with its worst financial crisis in seven decades. Its foreign exchange reserves are depleted and there are no dollars for essential imports including food, medicine and fuel.
Long queues are seen at many fuel stations across the country . Citizens have to stand in line overnight for petrol and diesel. Due to this, protests are also taking place in the country. A month back also, there was a fuel crisis in Sri Lanka. At that time the Prime Minister had said that only one day’s fuel was left in the country. Power and energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the country has overdue payments of $725 million to suppliers.
Stocks may run out sharply,
he said, ‘Lack of foreign exchange reserves is causing problems in fuel supply. The government is working to manage the existing stock by June 21. It is becoming very difficult to meet the demand and if we do not cut down on non-essential travel and stop hoarding, the stock could run out fast. We are expecting petrol shipments in the next three days and two more shipments in the next eight days.
Awaiting India’s Line of Credit
Sri Lanka is awaiting official confirmation on a US$ 500 million credit line from the Government of India’s Exim Bank. Vijcera said it would be used for fuel shipments over the next few weeks. Earlier, India has given assistance of about $ 3 billion. This includes a $1 billion line of credit for essential imports and a $400 million swap.
Discussions with many countries for fuel import
Wijesekera said that Sri Lanka has discussed with many countries including Russia for fuel import. Apart from this, it is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package. An IMF delegation is expected to reach Sri Lanka on June 20.