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“We’ve Run Out Of Petrol”: Sri Lanka PM In His Address To Country

In his first address to the nation on Monday, Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the country has run out of petrol, adding that the economy is extremely precarious. Explaining that the island nation is unable to find dollars to finance essential imports, the 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader said: “We have run out of petrol… At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day.”

US dollars will be sourced from open markets to pay for petrol, crude, and furnace oil shipments currently in Sri Lankan waters, the newly appointed PM said in his first address to the crisis-hit country after taking over the top post last week. 

Warning of the upcoming hardships in the next few months, he said: “The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public,” Wickremesinghe said. 

The Sri Lankan economy, the Prime Minister said, is extremely precarious. “Although the former government’s budget projected revenue of SLR 2.3 trillion, SLR 1.6 trillion is the realistic projection of this year’s revenue.”

Further referring to Rajapaksa family, Wickremesinghe said: “My aim is to save the country. I am not here to save a person, family or group.”

 Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, informing the citizens about mammoth crisis the country faces, said the government had also run out of cash to pay the 1.4 million civil servants their salaries in May, and he will turn to money printing as a last resort.

Relief budget will be introduced to replace the 2022 Development Budget, he further added. 

SriLankan Airlines, which is making massive losses at present, will be privatized, the PM said. 

“Even if we privatise SriLankan Airlines, we will have to incur the losses. These losses have to be borne also by the innocent people who have never stepped inside a plane,” said the Prime Minister.

 

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