With its existing fuel stocks rapidly depleting, Sri Lanka is under intense pressure to obtain foreign exchange for its imports, which has brought many sectors of the country’s economy to a grinding halt.
As a result, spontaneous protests have been reported at filling stations across the country, where consumers have been waiting in long serpentine queues for fuel for hours.
In a circular issued on Friday, the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs said, “Keeping in view the severe limitation of fuel supply, weak public transport system and difficulty in using private vehicles, this circular allows at least employees to work from Monday.” allows.” ,
However, those employed in the healthcare sector will have to continue to report at work, the circular said.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Education announced that all government and government-approved private schools in Colombo city limits would be closed next week due to prolonged power cuts, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported, and asked teachers to conduct online classes.
Sri Lanka has been facing power cuts of up to 13 hours a day for the past several months.
Earlier this week, Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped government approved a slew of measures, including imposing a 2.5 percent social contribution tax on companies based on their turnover and declaring Fridays as a holiday for most public sector employees. , facilitating economic recovery and reducing energy and food. Problem.
The cabinet also approved a move to grant one holiday per week for the next three months to government officials to engage in agriculture to mitigate the impending food crisis.
On Friday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said about four to five million of the country’s 22 million population could be directly affected by food shortages.
The nearly bankrupt country, coupled with an acute foreign exchange crisis that resulted in foreign debt defaults, announced in April that it would defer foreign debt repayments of about USD 7 billion for this year out of about USD 25 billion due by 2026. is suspending.
Sri Lanka’s total external debt is $51 billion.