Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he will soon present to Parliament a roadmap for overcoming the ongoing economic crisis that has led to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the debt-ridden island nation. A day before, Wickremesinghe said the roadmap will be finalised after taking proposals and suggestions from MPs whom he met on June 15 to discuss the country’s worst economic crisis.
The prime minister met with MPs to brief them on the current economic situation. Secretary to the ministry of finance, Mahinda Siriwardena, led the presentation with a breakdown of the current economic crisis and the short-term and medium-term goals of the government.
Following the presentation, a discussion was held with the MPs on possible methods that could be used to mitigate the economic disaster, the Colombo Page news portal reported, citing the Prime Minister’s Media Division.
Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. The economic crisis has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas, fuel and toilet paper, with Sri Lankans being forced to wait in lines for hours outside stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.
Agitated over waiting for long hours in fuel lines, Sri Lankans have blocked roads in protest in many areas. Lack of fuel has crippled the public transport services by over 50 per cent, according to the National Transport Commission.
Addressing Parliament recently, Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka will need USD 5 billion to ensure that the people’s daily lives are not disrupted for the next six months.
The nearly bankrupt country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.
Sri Lanka is awaiting official confirmation from India on a new credit line that will allow the cash-strapped nation to have supplies of petrol and diesel for the next four months, energy minister Kanchana Wijesekara said on Friday.
On Tuesday, Wickremesinghe said a new credit line provided by India will support the cash-strapped island nation’s fuel purchase for another four months from July even as an LPG shipment of 3,500 MT reached Sri Lanka.