As the government of Sri Lanka struggles to provide essential goods as a result of a crippling sovereign debt crisis that has rocked the country for months, fuel supplies were suddenly restricted, and residents were told to stay inside their homes. This raised the risk of more unrest occurring in the country.
Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said in a televised statement that the decision to restrict fuel distribution to essential services until July 10 was made by the cabinet of ministers of the island nation on Monday. He added that it was likely that interprovincial public transportation would come to a halt as a result of the decision.
“All other sectors are urged to remain at home and deliver services online.” “Our nation is confronting a condition of financial and foreign currency crisis on a scale that has never been seen before.”
Last week, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, warned parliamentarians that the country’s economy had “totally collapsed.” According to Wickremesinghe, the island nation is unable to acquire gasoline while shortages of basics and power grow. After defaulting on its dollar bonds earlier this year and seeing its foreign reserves dwindle, his government is currently in discussions with the International Monetary Fund as well as with bilateral creditors such as India and China in order to obtain new funds to pay for imports. These bilateral creditors include India and China.
Many roads in and around the capital, Colombo, have been deserted over the past few days, even as thousands of vehicles lined up in queues that stretched for kilometres waiting for filling stations to be replenished. This was caused by the fact that the government had already shut down public schools and asked civil servants to work from home in an effort to reduce transport.
In May, violent demonstrations broke out when the brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned from his position as prime minister in the wake of conflicts between supporters of the administration and those opposed to it.
Even though Rajapaksa has now strengthened his position in parliament and pledged to see out the remaining two years of his tenure, the level of tension is still rather high.
According to statements made by the country’s Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera on Sunday, Sri Lanka intends to open its gasoline distribution market to international businesses in an effort to alleviate the devastating shortages that have halted the majority of the country’s economic activities.
According to a statement sent by the president’s office late on Monday night, the governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has indicated that he is willing to settle outstanding debts to corporations for gasoline deliveries “with a plan.” According to the report, President Rajapaksa reportedly gave orders to government officials to “immediately take measures to import petroleum using the current money available till then.” The report did not elaborate on this instruction.
This week, the government will be sending envoys to Qatar and Russia in an effort to obtain new supplies. Additionally, the administration is seeking to get clearance from India for a credit line of 500 million dollars to be used for gasoline imports.
On Monday in New Delhi, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda, met with India’s Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, to discuss the possibility of securing gasoline and diesel supplies for Sri Lanka, which are required by the island nation on an urgent basis. The meeting was called to discuss the possibility of securing gasoline and diesel supplies for Sri Lanka.
According to a post on Facebook made by the high commission, Moragoda briefed Puri on the “acute challenges” that Sri Lanka is currently facing in regard to the supply and distribution of petroleum products as well as the severe hardships that the people of the country are going through. Moragoda also informed Puri about the situation in Sri Lanka.