Sri Lankans will have to adhere to fuel rationing from Friday in view of the economic crisis in the country, state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation announced, reported PTI.
The island nation has been mired in public debt over the last few months. Amid a decline in the country’s foreign currency reserves, Sri Lankans are facing shortages of medicines, milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essential items.
The shortage of fuel led to protests as people had to stand in long queues outside fuel stations. On March 22, the country’s government had deployed soldiers at petrol pumps as protests erupted.
In a statement on Friday, the petroleum corporation said that motorcycles and other two-wheelers can purchase fuel worth Rs 1,000 per visit to petrol pumps. Three-wheelers can buy fuel worth Rs 1,500, while cars, jeeps and vans can purchase it up to Rs 5,000.
Buses, lorries and commercial vehicles have been exempted from the fuel rationing.
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was losing between Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore daily on fuel subsidies because the Sri Lankan Rupee has depreciated and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to high global fuel rates, Sumith Wijesinghe, the chairperson of petroleum company had said last week, PTI reported.
There are ongoing discussions with India for another credit line extension worth $500 million, or over Rs 3,815 crore, to help the country buy oil, he had added.
Authorities have imposed 13-hour daily power cuts due to a shortage of fuel to operate power plants.
Hundreds of bakeries in the country have shut down because of lack of cooking gas. Several state-run hospitals have stopped conducting surgeries and a state of public health emergency has been declared.
The government has also indefinitely postponed school examinations for Classes 9, 10 and 11 because it does not have stocks on which to print question papers.
On Tuesday, Sri Lanka had said it would default on its entire external debt worth $51 billion (over Rs 3.88 lakh crore) till it receives a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. A country’s external debt pertains to the money borrowed by it from foreign lenders through commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions.
On April 4, Sri Lanka’s entire Cabinet, except President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, had resigned en masse from their positions. A new finance minister was appointed, but he too had resigned less than 24 hours after he accepted the post.