05.Jul .2022 12:30

Sri Lanka’s delegation to visit Moscow to discuss oil supplies — PM

Sri Lanka’s delegation to visit Moscow to discuss oil supplies — PM
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The official Sri Lankan delegation will visit Moscow shortly to discuss supplies of oil to the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an exclusive interview with TASS.

"We got a minister leading a team, which will get to Moscow sometime next week to discuss further on how to obtain oil from Russia," the Prime Minister said.

Sri Lanka will take Russian oil, Wickremesinghe said. "We would take Russian oil. I think already Russian oil has come to Sri Lanka," the Prime Minister said, adding that certain deliveries of Russian oil have already been made, TASS reports.

The island nation of 22 million has been brought to a virtual standstill due to acute shortages of fuel and essential items such as food and medicines, as the government ran out of foreign reserves to import commodities earlier this year.

Sri Lanka defaulted on its external debt in April and the usable foreign reserves are so low that it has struggled to cover its needs from the international market.

In Colombo, the roads are nearly empty. Some long queues can be seen near the few petrol stations that are still open, but educational institutions, businesses and government offices remain shut. Hotels in the capital – once full of tourists – are struggling to stay afloat due to a sharp drop in guests.

According to Bloomberg, the country has run out of dollars to purchase fuel and is printing rupees to pay local salaries, aims to stop injecting local currency to quash Asia’s fastest inflation.

The inflation rate is estimated to reach 60%, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament Tuesday before a monetary policy review due Thursday. Talks for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund are complicated because the nation is bankrupt, he added.

While Washington and its allies are trying to cut financial flows supporting Moscow's war effort, Russia is offering its crude at a steep discount, making it extremely enticing to a number of countries.