New Delhi: “At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” declared Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
In his address to the nation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the country urgently needed $75 million in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports.
Two shipments of petrol and two of diesel using an Indian credit line could provide relief in the next few days, he said. However, he also said the country is also facing a shortage of 14 essential medicines.
“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” said the Prime Minister.
The crisis led to widespread protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family, culminating in the resignation of his elder brother Mahinda as the prime minister last week.
Sadly, the fighting between government supporters and protesters killed 9 people and wounded 300.
Later in a series of tweets, he explained certain steps taken, including on the electricity front and added: “For over 40 days 3 ships with crude oil and furnace oil have been anchored within the maritime zone of Sri Lanka. We have already obtained money to avert this crisis.”
On the gas front, he wrote, “Problem: We urgently require USD 20 million to provide gas to consumers
• Solution: We are working towards making a payment for the gas shipment that is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.”
The protesters in Sri Lanka said they would keep up their campaign as long as Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains as the President. They have also labelled Wickremesinghe a stooge and criticised his appointment of four cabinet ministers, all allegedly members of the political party run by the Rajapaksa brothers.
Wickremesinghe, however, said he took the role for the good of the country.
“The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation,” the new Prime Minister tweeted.