Sri Lanka: Petrol stock left for only a day, says PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
Colombo: Crisis hit country Sri Lanka has now run out of petrol and is finding it difficult to raise dollars to pay for essential imports.
Addressing the nation, the new appointed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, “We have run out of petrol… At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period.”
He went on to say, “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.”
At the moment, Sri Lanka’s economy is extremely vulnerable and must acquire a minimum of 75 million US dollars within the next few days in order to ease the crowd and queues for essentials. Almost a quarter of electricity in the country is generated through oil. Wickremesinghe said that hence the daily power outages may last up to 15 hours per day. Another grave concern as mentioned by him is the lack of medicines for over four months now.
The PM mentioned that he would propose to privatise the Sri Lankan airlines, which is making huge losses at the moment. The Airlines suffered a loss of Rs. 45 billion in 2021. By March end this year, the total loss was estimated around Rs. 372 billion. “Even if we privatise SriLankan Airlines, we will have to incur the losses. These losses have to be borne also by the innocent people who have never stepped inside a plane,” he said.
Sri Lanka is presently going through the worst economic crisis since its independence. A significant shortage of foreign resources and reserves has caused longest of queues for fuel, cooking gas and essentials while duration of power cuts and inflation rates keep on rising.
The crisis also triggered an internal political conflict which demanded for the resignation of Rajapaksas. To this, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa refused to quit and appointed Wickremesinghe as the new PM last week.