A Sri Lankan government minister was in Qatar on Tuesday and another will travel to Russia at the weekend in search of energy deals to alleviate a severe fuel shortage that is crippling the economy of the island nation and forcing many schools to close.
Sri Lanka expects to run out of fuel in days, prompting the government to close schools in Colombo and order government employees to work from home, while troops handed tokens to people lining up for petrol to keep their places in the queue.
Sri Lanka will call China, India and Japan to a donor conference to drum up more foreign assistance to find a way out of its worsening economic crisis, the prime minister said on Wednesday, amid ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Tuesday reduced to 21 the minimum age at which women can go abroad for work and earn much-needed dollars for the bankrupt economy.
Sri Lanka closed schools and halted all non-essential government services on Monday, beginning a two-week shutdown to conserve fast-depleting fuel reserves as the International Monetary Fund opened talks with Colombo on a possible bailout.
A nationwide curfew was fully lifted on Sunday to allow Sri Lankans to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak, while new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assembled a cabinet to resolve the island nation's economic and political crisis.