Sri Lanka is down to its last supply of petrol according to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and asks citizens to prepare for the challenges. On Monday, Sri Lanka’s new prime minister said the country was down to its last day of petrol, while the country’s power minister warned citizens not to join the long fuel lines that have fueled weeks of anti-government rallies.
In a speech to the nation on Thursday, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was appointed Prime Minister on Thursday, said the government urgently required $75 million in foreign money to pay for crucial imports.
“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” he said.
“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period.”
He noted that two supplies of gasoline and two shipments of diesel utilizing an Indian credit line could give assistance in the coming days, but that the country is also short on 14 key medicines.
Sri Lanka now has a $6.8 billion (2.4 trillion Sri Lankan rupees) budget deficit, accounting for 13% of GDP.
The problem sparked significant protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family, culminating in his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation as Prime Minister last week after clashes between government supporters and demonstrators killed nine people and injured 300 more.
In his address on Thursday, he vowed to “build a nation without queues for kerosene, gas, and fuel … a nation with plentiful resources.”
Wickremesinghe has yet to name key cabinet members, notably the finance minister, who will negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for desperately needed financial assistance.
Ali Sabry, the former Finance Minister, had undertaken talks with the international lender before resigning with Mahinda Rajapaksa last week.