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Sri Lanka Announces Day Off Amid Depleting Fuel Supplies, Awaits New Credit Line

The island nation announced the measure in order to curb vehicular movement, leaving roads deserted.

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The Sri Lankan administration declared Friday, 17 June to be a public holiday for offices and schools as the island nation's economic activity came to a screeching halt and fuel supplies ran out, Bloomberg reported.

The island nation announced the measure to curb vehicular movement, leaving several roads in its capital (Colombo) deserted, and kilometers-long queues reportedly stretched across Sri Lankan cities as thousands of vehicles waited for fuel stations to be replenished.

Further, the State employees were encouraged to indulge in agricultural activity to grow food during the Friday holiday, as a measure to mitigate the perceived food crisis forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera indicated that suppliers, dissuaded by outstanding remittances, had not yet sent out tenders for new supplies.

Sri Lanka has sought supplies from several companies and nations, including Russia and India.

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Sri Lanka Awaits India's Nod for New Credit Line

Wijesekara on Friday, said that the crisis-ridden region is awaiting official confirmation from India on a USD 500 million credit line that would allow the cash-strapped nation to buy supplies of petrol and diesel for the next four months.

“We did receive unofficial communication on a new credit line for fuel three to four weeks ago, so far no official confirmation of it being made available," Wijesekara said.

The State's fuel entity Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said that the final shipment of diesel under the existing Indian Line of Credit of USD 700 million for fuel arrived on Thursday, 16 June.

The Sri Lankan government was also working on making arrangements to purchase crude oil even though it is a more costly operation.

The nearly bankrupt country facing an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.

(With inputs from Bloomberg and PTI.)

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