World

We’re out of gas -By ASC

Sri Lanka is being hit by the worst economic crisis ever.

Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Crisis -hit Sri Lanka has run out of petrol and cannot find dollars to finance vital imports, the new prime minister said on Monday in a speech to the country.

“We have run out of petrol … Right now, we only have a stock of petrol for a day,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said, warning his bankrupt country may face more difficulties in the coming months.

He said the government was also unable to raise dollars to pay for the three shipments of oil, with the ships waiting outside the port of Colombo for payment before unloading their cargo.

Sri Lanka is being hit by its worst economic crisis with its 22 million people struggling to get food, fuel and medicine while facing a record of inflation and prolonged power outages.

Wickremesinghe took office Thursday after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced out after weeks of protests over the government’s handling of the economic crisis turned deadly.

“The next few months are going to be the hardest of our lives,” Wickremesinghe said. “I have no desire to hide the truth and lie to the public.”

However, he urged the public to “be patient to bear the next few months” and vowed he could overcome the crisis.

He said the government also ran out of cash to pay the salaries of 1.4 million civil servants in May, and he would turn to money printing as a last resort.

“Against my own will, I had to allow printing money to pay state sector workers and pay for essential goods and services,” he said.

He also warned that fuel and electricity tariffs would be significantly raised and his government would also sell its national carrier at a loss to reduce losses.

Sri Lanka has secured an IMF bailout and one of the main demands of international lenders is for Colombo to let go of loss -making national enterprises, including Sri Lanka Airlines whose losses carried forward exceed one billion dollars.

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

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