Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera met more Qatar’s officials during his visit to the middle eastern country in a bid to shore up support for the struggling Sri Lankan economy in the bring of collapse.
The minister met Dr Ali bin Saeed bin Smaikh Al Marri – Minister of Labour with Chairman of Foreign Employment Bureau today, where new job opportunities to Sri Lankans, possibilities of jobs during the World Cup and Visa process issues with QVC were discussed.
Yesterday the minister called upon Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani the Minister of Commerce & Industry on Investment to explore opportunities in Power, Energy & other Sectors.
On Tuesday, in a bid to secure fuel, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera met Qatar’s minister of state for energy affairs and the chief executive of Qatar Energy. He is also seeking a line of credit from a Qatar development fund.
The South Asian nation’s most serious economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948 comes after COVID-19 battered the tourism-reliant economy and slashed remittances from overseas workers.
Rising oil prices, populist tax cuts and a seven-month ban on the import of chemical fertilisers last year that devastated agriculture have compounded the troubles.
Left with just enough fuel for about a week and fresh shipments at least two weeks away, the government restricted supplies on Tuesday to essential services, such as trains, buses and the health sector, for two weeks.
The prime minister’s office said in a statement a government-ordered petrol shipment would arrive on July 22, while Lanka IOC, a unit of Indian Oil Corporation, is expecting a shipment of petrol and diesel around July 13.
“The government is also attempting to secure fuel shipments at an early date. However, until those are confirmed, the details would not be released,” the statement said.