Cash-strapped Sri Lanka announced a two-week halt to all fuel sales except for essential services starting Monday and called for a partial shutdown as its unprecedented economic crisis deepened.
The South Asian nation is facing its worst economic meltdown since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, and has been unable to finance even the imports of essentials since late last year.
As fuel reserves hit rock bottom with supplies barely enough for just one more day, government spokesman Bandula Gunawardana said the sales ban was to save petrol and diesel for emergencies.
He urged the private sector to let employees work from home as public transport ground to a halt.
“From midnight today, no fuel will be sold except for essential services like the health sector, because we want to conserve the little reserves we have,” Gunawardana said in a pre-recorded statement.
He apologised to consumers for the shortages: “We regret the inconvenience caused to the people.”