Sri Lanka hikes fuel prices amid crisis
People encouraged to work from home to minimize use of fuel
Sri Lanka's government on Tuesday announced an increase in fuel prices as the South Asian island nation is facing its worst-ever economic and political crisis.
Announcing the decision, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the price hike was approved by the Cabinet.
"Fuel Price will be revised from 3am today. Fuel pricing formula that was approved by the cabinet was applied to revise the prices. Price revision includes all costs incurred in importing, unloading, distribution to the stations and taxes. Profits not calculated and included," Wijesekera tweeted.
Petrol prices were increased by 82 Sri Lankan rupees ($0.23) per liter and diesel by 116 rupees ($0.32).
The Cabinet also approved the revised prices of public transportation and other services, he added.
Moreover, work from home will be encouraged, he said, to minimize the use of fuel and to manage the energy crisis.
He said 1,044 fuel stations have been supplied with petrol and diesel over the last three days.
Last week, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the country has only a day's stock of petrol left.
"The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives," he added.
People took to the streets at the end of March, protesting hours-long daily power cuts and shortages of food, fuel, and other vital goods after a foreign exchange shortage led to Sri Lanka's worst-ever economic crisis.
The weeks-long protests culminated into clashes. As protesters gathered around the Prime Minister's Office earlier this month, military units were called to the capital Colombo.
Amid growing pressure from the opposition, Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down as prime minister.
The government declared a nationwide curfew and ordered troops to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to life.
In nationwide protests, eight people, including a ruling party deputy and two police officers, lost their lives and nearly 250 people were injured.
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