Colombo (The Times Groupe)- Sri Lanka’s newly appointed prime minister says that the cash-strapped island nation is running out of petroleum, and that it needs $75m in foreign exchange within the next few days to pay for essential imports, including medicine.
“We have no petrol … At the moment, we have stocks for one day,” the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe said when addressing the nation on Monday amid fuel and medicine shortages in the country.
The government was unable to raise dollars to pay for three shipments of oil, with the ships awaiting payment outside the Colombo harbour before discharging their cargoes.
“The coming months will be the toughest this country has ever experienced,” Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez said, reporting from Colombo. “This affects all aspects of life, not just the industrial sector and manufacturing sector, but also the day-to-day life, children going to school, and everything else you can imagine.”
“So far, the people have not had a clear picture of how bad things are. As successive politicians reassured us, people had almost a false sense of optimism that things would be alright,” she continued.