Sri Lanka’s new prime minister warns country is down to its last day of petrol

Sri Lanka’s new prime minister warns country is down to its last day of petrol
Ranil Wickremesinghe, newly appointed prime minister, arrives at a Buddhist temple after his swearing-in ceremony, amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 12, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Newly appointed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an address on Monday that the country had only one day’s worth of petrol and that it needed US$75 million this week to pay for essential imports. He also said the country would have to print more money just to pay government wages.

The country is facing its worst economic crisis in 70 years, and now a shortage of fuel and medicine, among other things, has people desperate.

But Wickremesinghe also mentioned that there could be a potential credit line with India coming in the next few days. He also promised there wouldn’t be a food crisis, saying families would get three meals a day.

Key comments:

“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," said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. While asking the world for help, he said, “there won’t be a hunger crisis, we will find food.”

“We went to several fuel stations and most of them were closed. At around 5.30 a.m., we took a chance and joined a queue at Townhall which is the station usually providing fuel for government vehicles," said Ravindu Perera, a citizen of Columbo, the nation’s capital. “It was less crowded – but the queue gradually grew to about 2 kilometers long. We were lucky enough to get fuel around 9 a.m. once fuel was delivered."