Sri Lanka down to last day of petrol, says PM Wickremesinghe; asks people to be 'prepared to make sacrifices'

Sri Lanka Crisis: The president replaced his brother Mahinda with Wickremesinghe, an opposition parliamentarian who has held the post five times previously, in a desperate bid to placate protesters.

By Talibuddin Khan
Tue, 17 May 2022 08:15 AM IST
Minute Read
Sri Lanka down to last day of petrol, says PM Wickremesinghe; asks people to be 'prepared to make sacrifices'
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Colombo | Jagran News Desk: Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday night informed the crisis-hit nation that they are left with only one day of petrol, however, Wickeremesinghe, who was appointed as the PM on Thursday, further asserted that he has been trying to bring the end the crisis Sri Lanka is facing. He said that "Two shipments of petrol and two of diesel using an Indian credit line could provide relief in the next few days".

"In order ease the queues, we need approx. USD 75 million. We only have petrol stocks for a single day", Wickremesinghe tweeted. "We managed to bring in a diesel shipment yesterday. Two more diesel shipments under the Indian credit line due on 18/5 and 1/6. Two petrol shipments are due on 18/5 and 29/5. We are working to obtain dollars in the open market to pay for these shipments", he said in another tweet.

In an address to the nation on Monday, Wickeremesinghe said, "The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period."

The Sri Lankan PM also said that he did not request to take up the position of the Prime Minister last week, but took over on the invite of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in face of the challenging situation facing the country.

The crisis in Sri Lanka led to widespread protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family, culminating in the resignation of his elder brother Mahinda as prime minister last week after fighting between government supporters and protesters killed 9 people and wounded 300. The president replaced him with Wickremesinghe, an opposition parliamentarian who has held the post five times previously, in a desperate bid to placate protesters.

But the protesters have said they will keep up their campaign as long as Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains president. They have also labelled Wickremesinghe a stooge and criticised his appointment of four cabinet ministers, all members of the political party run by the Rajapaksa brothers. Wickremesinghe said on Monday he took the role for the good of the country.

Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising oil prices and populist tax cuts by the Rajapaksas, the strategic Indian Ocean island nation, where China and India are battling for influence, is in the midst of a crisis unparalleled since its independence in 1948. A chronic foreign exchange shortage has led to rampant inflation and shortages of medicine, fuel and other essentials, bringing thousands out on the streets in protest.


(With Agency Inputs)

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