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  • Koel Addepalli

The Sri Lankan Crisis

Sri Lanka has a population of around 22 million and is a multinational state, home to diverse cultures, languages and ethnicities. In May 2022, the island country failed to repay its debt to the foreign countries for the first time in its history.

Officials say that Sri Lanka doesn't have enough fuel for necessities like buses, trains and medical vehicles and they don’t have enough foreign currency to import more. Due to this matter, the prices for petrol and diesel have risen steeply.

In June, the government banned the sale of petrol and diesel for non-essential vehicles for a period of 2 weeks. The country has asked Russia and Qatar to supply oil at low prices to help reduce the cost of petrol. Schools in Sri Lanka have closed, and people have been asked to work from home to conserve supplies.

The country is in debt to China as well as Russia. The president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned on 14th July, 2022 after fleeing to Singapore. The president's leave threatens a power vacuum in Sri Lanka. Before stepping down, he appointed the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as acting president. He declared a state of emergency across the country and tried to stabilise the situation by imposing a curfew in the western province. But, on 13th July, 2022, hundreds of protestors stormed his office wanting him to resign. They owe $6.5bn to China, which has begun discussions about restructuring its loans.

The government blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the economical crisis, which drastically affected the tourist trade- one of its biggest income for foreign currency. Another reason was that tourists were frightened and driven off by a series of bomb attacks in 2019. Although, many experts blame it on President Rajapaksa's poor economic management.

Sri Lanka needs an efficient and functioning government to tackle the financial crisis, but for now, they’re all alone.

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