Cash starved Sri Lanka, which has run out of fuel, asked its citizens not to queue up at gas stations. The condition is so precarious that it does not have the required foreign exchange to pay even one ship carrying fuel.
“There is a petrol ship in our waters…“We do not have the forex,” Sri Lankan Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told Parliament.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took charge just a few days ago, faces the toughest challenge as he is expected to steer the country out of the crisis.
Wickremesinghe said the country’s central bank may have to print money to pay wages to government employees as it is left with petrol which would barely last for one more day.
While underlining that Sri Lanka would urgently require $75 million of foreign currency in the next few days, Wickremesinghe said that diesel shortages would be eased with the Indian credit line. The Prime Minister also said that the loss-making nation carrier Sri Lankan could be up for sale.
Wickremesinghe, in a televised address to the nation, warned that the next couple of months will be tough for the citizens.
“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,”
The 73 year old Prime Minister is no novice—this is his sixth time as PM, but the road ahead for him will be tough as Sri Lanka is in the grip of an unprecedented financial crisis—the worst since its independence.
“I am undertaking a dangerous challenge… I am wearing shoes with sharp nails that cannot be removed…I am accepting this challenge for our nation. My goal and dedication is not to save an individual, a family, or a party. My objective is to save all the people of this country and the future of our younger generation,” Wickremesinghe said.
Also read: Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickramsinghe turns to India for stability and recovery
Sri Lanka is not alone, several other countries are facing an economic meltdown