Sri Lanka on Tuesday raised the petrol price by 24.3% to Rs 420 (90.50 Indian rupees) a litre from Rs 338 (72.83 Indian rupees). The cost of diesel also went up by 38.4% from Rs 289 (62.27 Indian rupees) to Rs 400 (86.19 Indian rupees) per litre.
With this revision, fuel prices hit an all-time high as the island nation battles its most devastating economic crisis since independence in 1948.
To minimise the use of fuel, citizens have been encouraged to work from home, saidKanchana Wijesekera, minister of power and energy. “Public sector workforce will be called to work on the direction of the head of the institute from today [Tuesday],” he said.
The development came after Sri Lanka defaulted on its debts for the first time in its history due to the economic meltdown. An inflation rate spiralling towards 40% along with shortages of medicines, milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essential items have sparked nationwide protests.
On May 16, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had warned that the country had run out of petrol and said that the residents could face more hardships in the coming months. He had also warned that residents could suffer power outages for as long as 15 hours a day.
Lanka Indian Oil Corporation, the Sri Lankan subsidiary of India’s government-owned oil explorer and producer, on Monday raised the retail prices of fuel, PTI reported.
Ever since Sri Lanka has been hit with the economic crisis, it has depended on India for fuel, medicine and food items. India has already extended over $3 billion to the cash-strapped country through currency swaps, credit lines for essentials and loan deferments.
Last week, Wickremesinghe had said that Sri Lanka needed $75 million (581 crore Indian rupees) in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports.
The economic crisis forced Mahinda Rajapaksa to quit as the prime minister on May 9. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe as the prime minister on May 12 after a week of violent clashes between government supporters and protestors killed nine persons.