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Sri Lanka struggling to pay for fuel transport – Minister

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Uditha Jayasinghe

Colombo-Sri Lanka is struggling to raise $ 587 million to pay for about five dozen fuel shipments, the Prime Minister said. It will try to deal with the worst financial crisis in decades, which it said on Sunday as a underfunded country.

22 million countries are unable to pay for the essential imports of food, fertilizers, medicines and fuels due to the severe dollar crisis.

Electricity and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said new fuels are ready to be shipped, but the central bank can only supply about $ 125 million, which is enough for the country to pay. I'm having a hard time raising money.

Sri Lanka's government stockpile has only 12,774 tonnes of diesel and 4,061 tonnes of gasoline left, he told reporters in Colombo, the commercial center of the island nation. rice field.

"This week we will need $ 316 million to pay for new shipments. Adding two crude oil shipments will bring this amount up to $ 587 million." Wijesekera said.

The first shipment of 40,000 tonnes of diesel from Coral Energy is expected to arrive around July 9, with a partial payment of $ 49 million for the second shipment from Bittle by Thursday. Is required.

Last week, Sri Lanka closed schools, asked civil servants to work from home, and restricted government fueling to essential services due to severe diesel and petrol inventories. ..

Minister said the country needs to raise money from the open market and seek more flexible payment options from its suppliers.

He said plans were being discussed to settle $ 800 million to pay seven suppliers for the purchases made this year.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials continue talks with Sri Lanka on the possibility of a $ 3 billion bailout package, global lenders conclude their 10-day visit to Colombo last week. Said that.

However, the immediate release of funds from the IMF is unlikely, as the country must first move its debt on a sustainable path. (Report by Uditha Jayasinghe, edited by Rupam Jain, edited by Ed Osmond)