Sri Lanka’s parliament cancels sittings to avoid wasting gasoline after petrol runs out

Vehicles queue for diesel and petrol as they wait for a bowser since yesterday, amid the countrys economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 23, 2022.—Reuters
Vehicles queue for diesel and petrol as they wait for a bowser since yesterday, amid the countrys economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 23, 2022.—Reuters
Vehicles queue for diesel and petrol as they wait for a bowser since yesterday, amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 23, 2022.—Reuters
  • Sri Lanka parliament shuts early after petrol runs out.
  • Energy minister says gasoline shipment was due Thursday.
  • Sri Lanka defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April.

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s parliament has cancelled its remaining sittings for the week to save fuel, officials said Thursday, with a disastrous economic crisis rapidly depleting the island nation’s already scarce petrol supplies.

A critical shortage of foreign currency has left importers unable to finance purchases of food, oil and medicines, while runaway inflation and regular blackouts have made life a misery for the South Asian country’s 22 million people.

Parliamentary officials said lawmakers decided not to hold sessions on Thursday and Friday to avoid unnecessary petrol use, days after authorities closed schools and some state offices for the same reason.

Energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera said a gasoline shipment that was due Thursday had been delayed and urged motorists to cut down on travel.

“Only limited amounts of petrol will be distributed to pumping stations today and tomorrow,” he told reporters in Colombo, with motorists already waiting in line for days to top up their tanks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Wednesday that the nation’s economy had reached the point of “complete collapse”.

“We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food,” Wickremesinghe told lawmakers.

Sri Lanka defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout which could take months.

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