Sri Lanka has stopped gasoline sales amid the crisis
Sri Lanka has halted sales of gasoline to residents for two weeks amid a severe fuel shortage, Cabinet of Ministers spokesman Bandula Gunawardane announced on Monday.
"The cabinet of ministers decided to issue fuel only for essential services from midnight today [June 27] until July 10," Gunawardane told reporters, as sited by a number of news outlets.
According to the official, fuel will only be supplied to essential services, such as healthcare, agriculture, and food transportation.
Gunawardane also warned of a potential public transportation shutdown in the coming days, and said the authorities have urged employers to allow people to work from home.
Sri Lanka is in the grip of simultaneous fuel and food crises, brought on by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused a downturn in tourism and led to a shortage of foreign currency. As a result, Sri Lanka is unable to pay for imports, and due to a default that was declared on its external debt in mid-April, the country can no longer borrow funds from foreign investors.
According to reports citing the state energy company, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Sri Lanka as of Monday had barely enough fuel stored to last one day. The same day, negotiators were sent to Qatar and Russia to secure more supplies to refill the depleted storages.
The latest crisis has sparked protests across the country, which have been going on for months, especially in the capital Colombo. Protesters are demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapksa for mismanagement.
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