(Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s fuel stocks will last for about five more days, its power and energy minister said on Thursday, as the island nation awaits official confirmation from the Indian government for a new $500 million credit line for fuel.
The country of 22 million people is caught in its worst financial crisis in seven decades after its foreign exchange reserves dwindled to record lows, with dollars running out to pay for essential imports including food, medicine and fuel.
Chronic fuel shortages have worsened this week with kilometres-long lines at some gas stations countrywide, leading to sporadic protests as vehicle owners wait, sometimes overnight, for petrol and diesel.
The stocks cover fuel for vehicles, some industries and essential services. A month ago, the prime minister said there was only enough petrol for one day.
Sri Lanka is unable to make $725 million in overdue payments to suppliers and also struggling to open letters of credit for future shipments, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.