SRI LANKA BANKRUPT BECAUSE RUNS OUT OF FUEL
COLOMBO :Sri Lanka has virtually run out of petrol and diesel after several expected shipments were delayed indefinitely, the energy minister announced on Saturday, June 25, 2022 while apologising to motorists for the worsening fuel crisis.
Kanchana Wijesekera told the media, oil cargoes that were due middle of June did not turn up while those scheduled to arrive next week after will also not reach Sri Lanka due to "banking" reasons.
Sri Lanka is facing a serious shortage of foreign exchange to finance even the most essential imports, including food, fuel and medicines and is appealing for international handouts.
Wijesekera said the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was unable to say when fresh oil supplies will be on the island. The CPC had also shut its only refinery over a shortage of crude oil, he added.
The refinery started operation earlier this month using 90,000 tonnes of Russian crude oil bought through Dubai-based Coral Energy on two-month credit terms.
Wijesekera told media, he regretted that deliveries of " petrol, diesel and crude oil shipments due earlier end of June and early July " would not be fulfilled " on time for banking and logistical reasons ".
Scarce supplies left in the country will be distributed through a handful of pumping stations, he said.
Public transport and power generation will be given priority, Wijesekera added, urging motorists not to queue up for fuel.
" I apologise for the delay and inconvenience," the minister said as hundreds of thousands of motorists spent long hours waiting for petrol and diesel across the impoverished nation.
Middle of June, the government shut non-essential state institutions along with schools for two (2) weeks to reduce commuting because of the energy crisis.
Several hospitals across the country reported a sharp drop in the attendance of medical staff due to the fuel shortage.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned parliament on Wednesday that the South Asian Nation of 22 million people will continue to face hardships for a few more months and urged people to use fuel sparingly.
" Our economy has faced a complete collapse," Wickremesinghe said.
" We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food."
Unable to repay its US$51 billion foreign debt, the government declared it was defaulting in April 2022 and is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for possible bailout.
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@ Jackie San