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Sri Lankan Newspapers Run Out of Press Papers Due to Forex Crisis; Suspend Publishing

All necessities are in short supply due to import restrictions forced by the forex crisis.

Colombo:

Two major Sri Lankan newspapers on Saturday suspended their publications due to a shortage of newspaper papers and price hikes caused by the country’s worst foreign exchange crisis of all time.

The Island, an English-language daily along with its Sinhala sister Divayina newspaper, stopped printing due to a shortage of newsprint and price hikes plaguing media organizations.

“We regret to inform our readers that we have had to postpone the publication of the print edition of The Island on Saturday until further notice due to lack of newsprint,” Upali Newspapers Limited said in a statement.

Sri Lanka is facing the worst foreign exchange crisis of all time after the outbreak hit the country’s revenue from tourism and remittances.

The cost of importing newsprint has also increased significantly since the government’s decision earlier this month to float the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar.

The Island newspaper, which has been in print since October 1981, will now serve as an e-paper.

Sri Lanka is facing an acute economic and energy crisis triggered by a shortage of foreign exchange. The sharp rise in prices of major commodities and fuel shortages forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours outside gas stations. People also face power outages for hours every day.

All necessities are in short supply due to import restrictions forced by the forex crisis.

As part of its move to address the crisis, the Sri Lankan government has asked for India’s help. After months of resistance, the government is preparing to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out the economy.

In a related development, local entity Indian Oil Corporation LIOC implemented another petrol price hike effective midnight Friday. This is LIOC’s fourth price increase since February.

India recently announced to extend a USD 1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to help the country deal with the economic crisis. New Delhi had extended a USD 500 million line of credit to Colombo in February to help it buy petroleum products.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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