In Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 17, 2022, tricycle drivers are waiting in line to buy gasoline due to lack of fuel during the country’s economic crisis.Reuters

Colombo: On Friday, the Sri Lankan government ordered public sector employees to work from home for two weeks due to a serious fuel shortage as the island nation tackled the worst financial turmoil in 70 years.

Sri Lanka is looking for foreign exchange to pay for the urgent need for fuel imports, and existing gasoline and diesel inventories are expected to run out in a few days. The combination of mismanagement of the government and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced 22 million countries into the most serious economic crisis since their independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.

“Given the strict limits on fuel supply, weak public transport, and the difficulty of using private cars, this circulation allows a minimum of staff to report employment from Monday,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. rice field.

Of the approximately 1 million civil servants, those who provide critical services such as healthcare will continue to report on their duties in the office, the notice said.

Earlier this week, the government also approved four days a week to encourage public sector workers to cope with chronic fuel shortages and grow food.

This week, many gas stations across the country have formed meandering vehicles that stretch for several kilometers, with some waiting for fuel for more than 10 hours.

The country is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday for a bailout package with the expected delegation in Colombo. The United Nations has outlined plans to raise $ 47 million to provide assistance to the 1.7 million Sri Lankans who have been hit hardest by the crisis in the next four months.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said in a statement on Friday that as many as 5 million Sri Lankans could be directly affected by food shortages in the coming months.

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