(by Aldgra Fredly | The Epoch Times via Zero Hedge) – Sri Lanka has only enough petrol for one day and urgently needs $75 million in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports within the next couple of days, the country’s new prime minister said on Monday.
“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a televised address.
“At present, the central bank, local and private banks, and foreign banks functioning in Sri Lanka are all facing a dollar shortage. As [the public] is already aware, we possess a very low amount of U.S. dollars,” he said.
While shipments of diesel and petrol using the Indian credit line may provide relief in the coming days, Wickremesinghe warned that Sri Lanka could see power outages lasting up to 15 hours a day.
The country also faces a severe shortage of medicines and surgical equipment, particularly heart disease medication and the anti-rabies vaccine. Sri Lanka currently owes 34 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($94 million) to pharmaceutical suppliers.
Wickremesinghe said the central bank will have to print money to pay the wages of state-sector employees, though he cautioned that doing so would cause the currency to depreciate.
He also proposed privatizing the Sri Lankan Airlines. Read Full Article >