Sri Lanka hikes fuel prices as filling stations go dry
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka has hiked petrol price by LKR 50 and diesel by LKR 60 respectively, the third price revision in over two months, as the country continues to reel under the worst economic crisis in decades due to a crippling shortage of foreign exchange reserves.
The price hike has come into effect from 2 am on Sunday, state-owned fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) announced.
Lanka IOC has also hiked prices by the same proportion.
The last fuel price hike was announced on May 24, which saw petrol and diesel prices being raised by 24 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.
This is third fuel price revision being enforced in the island nation since April 19.
From Sunday, petrol will cost LKR 470 per litre and diesel LKR 460 per litre.
The move comes after CPC informed the Sri Lankan government on Saturday that there would be a delay in the arrival of fuel shipments due to banking and logistical reasons.
Regret to inform that CPC has informed me that the suppliers that had confirmed petrol, diesel and crude oil shipments to arrive earlier this week and next week has communicated the inability to fulfill the deliveries on time for banking and logistical reasons, Sri Lanka's Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera tweeted on Saturday.
The minister said that until the next shipments arrive, priority would be given in diverting the existing stocks to public transport, power generation and industries, while diesel and petrol would be distributed at limited filling stations throughout next week.
Wijesekera requested citizens not to line up for fuel and announced the closure of refinery operations till the arrival of the next shipment of crude. Sri Lanka is facing a severe forex crisis which has forced the country of 22 million to declare a default of its international debt in April, becoming the first Asia-Pacific country in decades to default on foreign debt.
Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948 which has led to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the country.
After Colombo declared a default on loans in April, US bank Hamilton Reserve, a holder of Sri Lankan bonds, filed a lawsuit in the US district court in Manhattan over the breach of contract.
Sri Lankans languish in long fuel and cooking gas queues as the government is unable to find dollars to fund imports.
Indian credit lines for fuel and essentials have provided lifelines until the ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund could lead to a possible bailout.
There have been street protests in Sri Lanka against the government since early April due to its mishandling of the economic crisis.
On May 9, the political crisis saw the unleashing of violence with 10 people, including a parliamentarian, being killed.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa had to resign as prime minister amidst the political and economic turmoil.