Fuel price hike squeezes Sri Lankans

Vehicles queue for diesel and petrol amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on June 23, 2022.

Vehicles queue for diesel and petrol amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on June 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Sri Lanka hiked fuel prices on Sunday, creating further pain for ordinary people as officials from the U.S. arrived for talks aimed at alleviating the island’s dire economic crisis.

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said it raised the price of diesel, used widely in public transport, by 15% to 460 rupees a litre while upping petrol 22% to 550 rupees.

The announcement came a day after Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said there would be an indefinite delay in getting new shipments of oil.

Mr. Wijesekera said oil due last week had not turned up while shipments scheduled to arrive next week would also not reach Sri Lanka due to “banking” reasons.

Mr. Wijesekera apologised to motorists and urged them not to join long queues outside pumping stations.

Many have left their vehicles in queues hoping to top up when supplies are restored.

Official sources said remaining fuel supply was sufficient for about two days, but that authorities were saving it for essential services.

A delegation from the U.S. Treasury and the State Department arrived for talks to “explore the most effective ways for the U.S. to support Sri Lankans in need”, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said.

“As Sri Lankans endure some of the greatest economic challenges in their history, our efforts to support economic growth and strengthen democratic institutions have never been more critical,” U.S. ambassador Julie Chung said in a statement.

The Embassy said it had committed $158.75 million in new financing in the past two weeks to help Sri Lankans.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 9:50:15 pm |