Sri Lanka runs out of cash to buy petrol

Sri Lanka, the worst-hit nation by the pandemic and now rising energy prices and populist tax cuts say it cannot find the cash to pay a single ship for petrol.

This, according to the Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera who on Wednesday told Parliament pleading with citizens not to queue for gasoline as the government has no dollars to pay for a fuel shipment.

“There is a petrol ship in our waters but we do not have the forex, ” said Wijesekera.

On a similar day, in a different address to the nation, Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, said the country is down to its last day of petrol as it faces its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years with its 22 million people enduring severe hardships to secure food.

With such devastation, many would want to know why there is a fuel shortage in the island nation, lying in the Indian Ocean, well according to the Prime Minister most of the fuel in Sri Lanka is imported, and because of the country’s economic crisis, there is no enough money of about Ksh.582 million to import petrol.

This has compounded the country’s cost of living with no signs of getting cooking gas and petrol at fuel stations for weeks now.

The Prime Minister explained that as it stands, Sri Lanka’s central bank will have to print money to pay government wages.

According to the government, the country needs more than Ksh.8.7 billion of foreign currency in the next few days to pay for more of its other essential imports such as food and medicine amid its soaring inflation.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe added that state-owned Sri Lankan Airlines may be privatized.

Collins Ogutu

Digging behind the headline to explore the world of business and human interest stories in a more independent, honest, and dignified perspective.

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