Sri Lanka to seek additional $ 500 mn Indian loan for fuel
Govt. tells non-essential staff to work from home to save fuel; social media saw many accounts of families being unable to access emergency medical care due to the lack of fuel
Sri Lanka has decided to seek fresh assistance of $500 million from India to augment its fuel imports as the island reels under a crippling economic crisis manifesting in persisting shortages of essentials. For weeks now citizens are spending long hours lining up outside fuel stations — at times all day or night — to pump petrol or diesel currently in short supply as crisis-hit Sri Lanka runs out of dollars to pay for imports. Public transport has been stalled due to the unavailability of fuel businesses have been hit and schools were forced to remain closed as students are unable to commute. Over the last few days Sri Lankan social media saw many accounts of families being unable to access emergency medical care due to the lack of fuel. The government has asked “non-essential” staff to work from home to save on fuel consumption.“The Cabinet of Ministers granted approval for the proposal submitted by the Minister of Electricity and Energy to obtain a series of short-term loan facilities worth another $500 million with the assistance of the export–import bank of the Indian government in order to purchase petroleum products required by the country settling the foreign exchange shortage existing at the moment ” the government said in a statement following the Cabinet meeting on Monday. Fuel prices saw a record hike on Tuesday as diesel earlier sold for LKR 289 ($0.80) a litre now costs LKR 400 reflecting a 38 % jump. Petrol prices rose from 338 to 420 Sri Lankan rupees threatening to further increase costs of all essential commodities whose prices are already skyrocketing.