• Friday, Oct 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:15 pm

Sri Lanka declares food emergency amid forex crisis

  • Published at 01:57 pm August 31st, 2021
SL
Workers unloading essential food products at a Colombo wholesale market in on August 30, 2021

Sri Lanka's foreign reserves fell to $2.8 billion at the end of July, from $7.5 billion in November 2019

Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over food shortages as private banks ran out of foreign exchange to finance imports.

With the country suffering a hard-hitting economic crisis, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he ordered emergency regulations to counter the hoarding of sugar, rice, and other essential foods.

Rajapaksa has named a top army officer as ‘Commissioner General of Essential Services’ to coordinate the supply of paddy, rice, sugar, and other consumer goods. 

The move followed sharp price rises for sugar, rice, onions, and potatoes, while long queues have formed outside stores because of shortages of milk powder, kerosene oil, and cooking gas.

The government has increased penalties for food hoarding, but the shortages come as the country of 21 million battles a fierce coronavirus wave, that is claiming more than 200 lives a day.


Also Read - Bangladesh’s forex reserves to Sri Lanka’s rescue


The economy shrank by a record 3.6% in 2020 because of the pandemic and in March last year, the government banned imports of vehicles and other items, including edible oils and turmeric, an essential spice in local cooking, in a bid to save foreign exchange.

Importers still say they have been unable to source dollars to pay for the food and medicines they are allowed to buy.

Two weeks ago, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka increased interest rates in a bid to shore up the local currency.

Sri Lanka's foreign reserves fell to $2.8 billion at the end of July, from $7.5 billion in November 2019 when the government took office and the rupee has lost more than 20% of its value against the US dollar in that time, according to bank data.

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila has appealed to motorists to use fuel sparingly so that the country can use its foreign exchange to buy essential medicines and vaccines.

A presidential aide has warned that fuel rationing may be introduced by the end of the year unless consumption is reduced.

59
Facebook 54
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail