“We are running out of gas… At the moment we only have oil stocks for one day,” said Ranil Wickremesinghe, warning that his country could face more difficulties in the coming months. .
He added that the government was also unable to raise funds to pay for three shipments of oil, with ships waiting outside Colombo port to be paid before unloading.
Sri Lanka is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, with 22 million people facing severe difficulties obtaining food, fuel and medicine, while facing record inflation and long power outages. ‘electricity.
Ranil Wickremesinghe took office on Thursday. His predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced out after weeks of protests against the government’s handling of the economic crisis.
“The next few months will be the most difficult of our lives,” he said. “I have no desire to hide the truth and lie to the public,” he continued.
However, he urged people to “endure the next few months patiently” and vowed he could weather the crisis. He added that the government had also run out of money to pay salaries in May for 1.4 million civil servants, and would only turn to printing money as a last resort.
“Against my own will, I am forced to allow money to be printed in order to pay public sector employees and pay for essential goods and services,” he said.
He also warned that fuel and electricity prices would be increased dramatically and that the government would also sell off its loss-making national carrier to cut losses.
Sri Lanka has requested bailout from the IMF, one of the main demands of which is that it divest itself of loss-making state enterprises, including Sri Lanka Airlines, whose reported losses exceed $1 billion.