Sri Lanka PM hints at opting for fuel rationing amid economic crisis

Sri Lanka PM hints at opting for fuel rationing amid economic crisis

Colombo: The next three weeks are going to be "tough" for Sri Lanka over fuel supplies, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned on Tuesday, indicating that the cash-strapped country, which needs some USD 3,300 million for fuel imports in the next six months, may opt for its rationing.

Addressing Parliament, Wickremesinghe said that India, China and Japan are leading the list of countries that provided Sri Lanka with loans and assistance during the worst financial crisis faced by the island nation.

Relations with these countries, which have always been strong, are now broken. Those relationships need to be rebuilt," he said.

"The country spends USD 500 million per month on fuel. It should be kept in mind that the current global crisis risks raising oil prices. Some estimate that global oil prices will rise by as much as 40 per cent by the end of this year. "

"In this context, the idea of introducing a coupon system for fuel cannot be ruled out. Somehow we have to find USD 3,300 million for fuel for the next six months," he said.

The next three weeks will be a tough time for us related to fuel. It is time we all must use fuel and gas as carefully as possible. Unessential travel should be limited as much as possible. After these difficult three weeks, we are trying to ensure the shortage of fuel and gas will have ended. Let's face these difficult three weeks united and patiently, the prime minister said. Wickremesinghe said although the primary focus was on achieving economic stability, the effort must be to revive the economy.

This is not something that can be done in two or three days. This challenge cannot be faced by miracles, slogans, magic or emotions. Implementing intelligently thought-out projects requires hard work and dedication," he said.

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