July 4, 2022
Sri Lanka’s energy minister has issued a stern warning on the country’s fuel crisis as it faces a serious economic crisis for more than 70 years.
The Nation had enough fuel for less than a day as required. Said Kanchana Wijesekera on Sunday.
He also said that the next gasoline was less than two weeks old.
Last week, Sri Lanka halted the sale of petrol and diesel to non-essential vehicles as it struggled to pay for imported goods such as petrol, food and medicine.
Mr Wijesekera told the media that the country now had 12,774 tons of diesel and 4,061 tonnes of fuel remaining in its reserves.
“The next delivery of fuel is expected between 22 and 23 [July],” he added.
Diesel shipments are expected to arrive over the weekend, however Mr Wijesekera warned that the country does not have enough money to pay for the purchase of petrol and crude oil.
He said the central bank of Sri Lanka could offer only $ 125m to buy fuel, far less than the $ 587m needed for its planned delivery.
Mr Wijesekera added that the country owed $ 800m to seven suppliers for purchases made earlier this year.
This comes after Sri Lanka banned its sale of private car fuel until next week.
Experts believe it is the first country to take drastic measures to stop the sale of petrol to the general public since the 1970s, when petrol prices were estimated in the United States and Europe.
The island nation of 22 million people is facing the worst economic crisis since gaining independence from the UK in 1948 as it does not have enough foreign exchange to pay for the purchase of essential goods.
The severe shortage of oil, food and medicine has helped to increase the cost of living in the country and many people rely on cars for their livelihood.
Last Thursday, the International Monetary Fund team concluded a new round of talks with Sri Lanka over a $ 3bn (£ 2.5bn) rescue agreement.
Although no agreement has been reached, the team said in a statement that it has made “significant progress in defining the macroeconomic and structural policy package”.
He added that he “saw the current plight of the Sri Lankan people, especially the poor and vulnerable who were unjustly affected by this crisis”.
The poor country also sent officials to major energy producers in Russia and Qatar in an effort to get cheaper oil.
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