(Bloomberg) – Sri Lankans have been told not to stand in line for petrol because the country on the brink of default has no dollars to pay for fuel shipments.
“We have a patrol vessel in our waters,” Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament on Wednesday. “We don’t have Forex.”
Sri Lanka “hopes” the ship will leave “today or tomorrow,” the minister said.
The island nation has reached the worst economic crisis in its independent history. Lack of everything from food to cooking gas has led to the fastest inflation in Asia – prices have risen by almost 30% – and have spread amid social unrest and political instability.
Sri Lanka gives a pre-determined indication of the problems ahead for developing countries
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – less than a week in office – said on Monday that the nation had only one day’s supply of petrol and the government was working to get dollars in the open market to pay for three ships, including crude oil and furnace oil. Anchored in Sri Lankan waters.
He told parliament on Wednesday that the government was in talks with the World Bank to channel part of the $ 160 million in social welfare assistance to buy fuel imports.
Wijesekera said Sri Lanka’s fuel needs for June are estimated at $ 530 million, and the current supply of petrol is being prioritized for essential services such as ambulances.
The country currently has adequate stocks of diesel, he added.
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