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Sri Lanka Closes Schools Due to a Fuel Crisis

Amid an excellent fuel crisis, the Sri Lankan Education Ministry proclaimed a holiday week for all government and state-approved private schools beginning July 4.


The Sri Lankan Education Minister stated that the syllabus would be covered during the upcoming holiday.


Previously, on June 18, the Sri Lankan government declared a week-long closure of all schools.


According to the Sri Lanka Education Ministry, "all government and government-approved private schools in Colombo city boundaries, as well as schools in other major cities in other provinces, would be closed throughout the next week owing to continuous power outages."


Sri Lanka Education Ministry Secretary NihalRanasinghe has requested schools to have online lessons and has stated that schools at the divisional level would be permitted to hold classes with fewer pupils if transportation issues do not hinder the students, instructors, and administrators.


He stated that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has committed not to have power outages between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays to promote online education.


Sri Lanka, historically an upper-middle-income country, has been experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis since the country's independence in 1948.


Severe demonstrations created a political upheaval, prompting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's brother Mahinda Rajapaksa to quit as Prime Minister and the inauguration of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister in May.


In May, food inflation was 57.4%, but shortages of vital food staples, as well as fuel for cooking, transportation, and industry, were prevalent, with daily power outages.


The economy is preparing for a significant contraction due to a scarcity of essential supplies for manufacturing, and 80% devaluation of the currency since March 2022, a lack of foreign reserves, and the failure of the country to pay its international debt commitments.


 


 


The economic crisis has significantly impacted food security, agriculture, livelihoods, and access to health care. Food output was 40- 50% lower than the previous harvest season, and the current agricultural season is jeopardized due to seed, fertilizer, fuel, and finance constraints.


 


India’s support


 


Sri Lanka gets most of its gasoline from neighboring India, which has granted it a credit line. The ministry also stated that it was in talks with suppliers in Russia and Malaysia. Sri Lanka has deferred repayment of around $7 billion in foreign loans due this year, out of a total of $25 billion due by 2026. The overall foreign debt of the country is $51 billion.


The economic downturn has generated a political crisis, with anti-government rallies spreading across the country. Protesters have stopped major highways to demand petrol and gasoline, and television stations have shown people fighting over limited supplies in specific locations.


Protesters have been occupying the door to the president's office in Colombo for over two months, demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation. They accuse him and his strong family, which includes numerous siblings in positions of prominence in the government, of driving the country into catastrophe via corruption and misrule.


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Tags: #Economy #Srilanka #Economiccrisis #PriceHike #Fuel



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