In light of Sri Lanka’s greatest economic crisis in more than 70 years, the country’s energy minister has issued a stern warning regarding the nation’s gasoline supplies.
According to Kanchana Wijesekera on Sunday, the country barely had enough gasoline to last under normal demand for less than a day.
The next cargo of gasoline, he added, wouldn’t be arriving for another two weeks.
Due to financial difficulties, Sri Lanka this week stopped selling gasoline and diesel for non-essential vehicles. This includes fuel, food, and medication imports.
According to Mr. Wijesekera, the nation still has 12,774 tonnes of fuel and 4,061 tonnes of gasoline in its reserves.
The following gasoline cargo is anticipated to arrive between July 22 and 23.
Although Mr. Wijesekera cautioned that the nation does not have enough money to pay for planned gasoline and crude oil imports, a supply of diesel is anticipated to arrive at the weekend.
He said that compared to the $587 million required for its scheduled exports, Sri Lanka’s central bank could only provide $125 million for gasoline purchases.
Mr. Wijesekera stated that seven vendors were owed $800 million by the nation for transactions made earlier this year.
For two weeks last week, Sri Lanka restricted the selling of petrol for private automobiles.
According to experts, it is the first nation to adopt such a dramatic measure as to stop selling gasoline to the general public since the 1970s oil crisis, when fuel was rationed in the US and Europe.
The 22 million-strong island nation is going through its biggest economic crisis since achieving independence from the UK in 1948 because it cannot buy adequate necessities due to a lack of foreign currency.
Acute shortages of food, medication, and gasoline have contributed to the country’s record-high cost of living since so many people depend on automobiles for their means of transportation. Additionally, it has prompted tense public protests.
The Covid epidemic, which has an impact on Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, one of its main sources of foreign exchange, is to blame, according to the administration. However, a lot of analysts point the finger at poor economic management.
For the first time ever, the nation missed a payment on its foreign debt in May.