Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Minister: Sri Lanka struggling to pay for fuel shipments

Minister: Sri Lanka struggling to pay for fuel shipments

Minister: Sri Lanka Struggling To Pay For Fuel Shipments

Sri Lanka is struggling to raise $587 million to pay for nearly half a dozen fuel shipments, a top minister said on Sunday as the cash-strapped country is trying to deal with its worst financial crisis in decades.

The country of 22 million people is unable to pay for essential imports of foodstuffs, fertilizers, medicines and fuels due to severe dollar shortages.

Electricity and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said new fuel shipments were being put on line, but the country was struggling to raise enough money to pay as the central bank could only supply $125 million.

Sri Lanka has only 12,774 tonnes of diesel and 4,061 tonnes of petrol left in its government reserves, he told reporters in the island nation’s commercial hub Colombo.

“This week we will need $316 million to pay for the new shipments. If we add up the two shipments of crude that amount increases to $587 million,” Wijecekera said.

The first shipment of 40,000 tonnes of diesel from Coral Energy is expected around July 9 and a $49 million partial payment for the second from Vitol should be made by Thursday.

Faced with severely limited diesel and petrol stocks, Sri Lanka last week closed schools, asked public employees to work from home and limited government fuel supplies to essential services.

The minister said the country will have to make efforts to raise funds from the open market and explore more flexible payment options from suppliers.

A plan to pay $800 million to seven suppliers for purchases made this year was being discussed, he said.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials will continue talks with Sri Lanka for a potential $3 billion bailout package, the global lender said last week after ending a 10-day visit to Colombo.

However, an immediate release of funds from the IMF is unlikely as the country has to first bring its debt on a sustainable path.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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