Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe orders fuel distribution

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Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday instructed officials to accelerate the fuel distribution process and focus on providing fuel for school and public transport. He ordered officials to provide fuel to vehicles that transport school children from all state-run fuel depots.

The economic crisis has particularly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health services. Food production in the last harvest season was 40-50 percent lower than last year, and the current agricultural season is at risk, with seeds, fertilizers, fuel and credit shortages.

The instruction was given at a meeting to address the fuel crisis in the country, as schools will be reopened after several weeks of closure due to fuel shortages.

Fishermen, farmers and those engaged in tourism also need to be provided adequate quantities of fuel, the newly elected President said. Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka on July 14 in Parliament before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya.

Sri Lanka’s economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 percent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, coupled with a lack of foreign reserves and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.

China has offered a relatively small amount of humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, and even Colombo’s requests for USD 2.5 billion in credit support have met with a chilly reception.

“Sri Lanka still matters a lot to China, but other things also matter. In particular, they seem to not want to set a precedent in Sri Lanka of offering debt relief that other countries can then also request,” Alan Keenan, senior consultant on Sri Lanka at the International Crisis Group said.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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