Only India is giving us money for fuel, says Sri Lankan PM

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday that no country except India is providing the crisis-stricken island state for fuel.
In his speech to Parliament, Wickremesinghe said he has urged IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva to send a team to Colombo “as soon as possible” so that a staff-level deal can be finalized as his money-starved government pays $6. billion to keep the country afloat for the next six months.
Speaking about a planned strike by the engineers of the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Wickremesinghe said: “Please don’t cause a power outage, you can hold placards and strike.”
“If you do, don’t ask me to ask for help from India. No country gives us money for fuel and coal. Only India gives. Our Indian credit line is now nearing its end. We are talking about extension,” he says.
The prime minister also said that India cannot continue to provide aid to Sri Lanka. “Some in India ask why they should help us. They ask us to help ourselves before they can help us,” Wickremesinghe said.
A Sri Lankan energy sector union said on Wednesday it would go on indefinite strike from midnight to protest new government legislation that could potentially lead to power outages.
About 900 of the roughly 1,100 engineers at the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Sri Lanka’s main energy company, will not report for duty on Thursday and those already at power plants, transmission and distribution facilities will leave at a later date. midnight, the CEB said the Engineers’ Union.
The union is protesting the government’s plans to change legislation governing the country’s energy sector, including lifting restrictions on competitive bidding for renewable energy projects.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has applied for a $55 million loan from India for the purchase of urea.
India has provided $3.5 billion in economic aid in the form of loans and buyer’s credit for food, medicine and fuel.
Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and is facing a serious shortage of essential supplies, from food, fuel, medicine and cooking gas to toilet paper and matches. In recent months, people have been forced to stand in long lines to buy the limited supplies.
(With input from the agency)

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