Sri Lankan Economic Crisis In Pictures – Outlook India
Economic crises in Sri Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst-ever economic crisis in 70 years that has caused rolling electricity blackouts and affected payments for essential imports of food, medicine and fuel. On March 17, India extended a $1-billion short-term concessional loan to the cash-strapped nation. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on March 18 announced it was considering the bailout request made by Prime Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa who found the $51 billion foreign debt burden unsustainable. The government also wants to hire a global law firm to help restructure its debt.
A man loads gas cylinders at a cooking gas depot in the capital Colombo. The shortage of foreign currency caused by a pandemic recession has hindered the ability of the government to import goods. On March 20, Laugfs Gas in the island country raised prices by 1,359 Sri Lankan rupees for a 12.5kg cylinder. The next day, troops were deployed after angry crowds blocked a main road for hours in Colombo because they could not purchase kerosene oil.
A vendor counts change at a market in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s public debt rose from 94 per cent in 2019 to 119 per cent of GDP in 2021. The country raked up a $3.5 billion debt from China alone in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak that adversely affected the tourism sector. China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, told reporters in Colombo on Monday that the country was considering loaning $1 billion and $1.5 billion credit. However, on March 23, China refused to assist Sri Lanka after it appealed rescheduling its debt burden.
Customers buy government price-controlled milk powder in Colombo. Over the last few days, the price of milk powder escalated by Rs 250; 400 grams of milk powder is available for Rs 790 and a 1kg pack will be sold at Rs 1,945. The country also ran out of printing paper and ink which is why the government cancelled exams for millions of school students. These end-of-the-year term tests would have been held to assess students and decide who to promote to the next grade. The price of one kg of sugar in Sri Lanka has reached Rs 290.
A woman cooks a family lunch using firewood, an alternative to LP gas, currently in short supply. The crisis, however, is not the only reason for the shortage of many items including food, but also a recent spate of exploding LP gas cylinders has also led to a dearth in the market.
People wait at a fuel station, despite the station announcing that their stocks have run out, in Colombo. According to latest reports, three people have died while waiting in fuel queues due to the extreme summer heat. Similarly, many women fainted while waiting for cooking gas. Citizens are camping overnight outside numerous petrol stations to await their turn to avail of diesel and gasoline.
Members of the Socialist Youth Union dressed as Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, right, and his brothers, finance minister Basil, left, and Prime Minister Mahinda walk during a protest against the economic crisis in Colombo. Political parties and citizen groups have launched protests around the country, accusing the government of being responsible for the economic crunch.
Supporters of Sri Lanka’s main opposition burn placards during a protest outside the president’s office in Colombo. On Tuesday, 16 Sri Lankan nationals, all Tamils from Jaffna and Mannar regions in the north, reached Tamil Nadu in two batches. The first six refugees consisted of a young couple and their four-month-old son, and another woman and her two children. They were rescued by the Coast Guard after getting stranded near an island off the coast of Rameswaram. Intelligence sources have received information that Tamil Nadu might witness 2,000 refugees pouring into by next week.
Members of the Socialist Youth Union gather outside the president’s office during a protest against the worst economic crisis in memory in Colombo. Protestors in the Sri Lankan capital have called out the government for mismanaging the economy and creating a foreign exchange crisis. Citizens are also demanding for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign.