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Sri Lanka's economy 'has collapsed,' unable to buy oil: PM Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka has been muddling through mainly supported by $4 billion in credit lines from neighbouring India.

sri lanka | Ranil Wickremesinghe  | Oil prcies

AP | PTI  |  Colombo 

Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka PM
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka PM
Sri Lanka's prime minister says its debt-laden has “collapsed” after months of shortages of food, fuel and electricity, and the South Asian island nation cannot even purchase imported oil. “We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. Our has completely collapsed. That is the most serious issue before us today,” Prime Minister told Parliament. Wickremesinghe is also the finance minister tasked with stabilizing the economy, which is foundering under the weight of heavy debts, lost tourism revenue and other impacts from the pandemic and surging costs for commodities. “Currently, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $700 million in debt," he told lawmakers. “As a result, no country or organization in the world is willing to provide fuel to us. They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash,” he said. Wickremesinghe said the government had failed to act in time to turn the situation around, as Sri Lanka's foreign reserves dwindled. “If steps had at least been taken to slow down the collapse of the at the beginning, we would not be facing this difficult situation today.

But we lost out on this opportunity. We are now seeing signs of a possible fall to rock bottom,” he said. has been muddling through mainly supported by $4 billion in credit lines from neighbouring India. But Wickremesinghe said India would not be able to keep afloat for too long. has already announced that it is suspending repayment of $7 billion in foreign debt due for repayment this year, pending the outcome of negotiations with the Monetary Fund on a rescue package. It must pay $5 billion on average annually until 2026. The foreign currency crisis has resulted in massive shortages that have forced people to stand in long lines to buy essentials, including fuel, cooking as and medicine.

SL plans donor conference with China, India and Japan Sri Lanka will call China, India and Japan to a donor conference to drum up more foreign assistance to find a way out of its worsening economic crisis, the prime minister said on Wednesday, amid ongoing talks with the Monetary Fund (IMF). "We need the support of India, Japan and China who have been historic allies. We plan to convene a donor conference with the involvement of these countries to find solutions for Sri Lanka’s crisis," Wickremesinghe told parliament (Reuters).

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First Published: Wed, June 22 2022. 15:07 IST