Amid the mounting foreign exchange crisis, Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has sought the help of the United Arab Emirates to obtain oil under a concessionary arrangement.
His move comes as the country is facing a severe shortage of foreign currency which is making it difficult for the country to import many essentials including fuel.
Peiris made the request when he met the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“Peiris explained the challenges which Sri Lanka is currently experiencing with regard to its external budget, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He focused in particular on the country’s requirement of oil, and requested concessionary arrangements from the UAE,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Minister Al Jaber, has responded positively, saying that the UAE would be happy to assist, and proposed the establishment of a strategic framework to take the process forward. Both sides agreed to follow-up rapidly.
It is also learnt that Sri Lanka is preparing to obtain a US $ 500 million loan from India too, in a bid to purchase oil.