FILE- Sri Lankan auto rickshaw drivers queue up to buy petrol near a fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 13, 2022. Sri Lankans are facing a severe economic crisis that has ravaged household budgets amid high inflation. Staple foods are in short supply, along with medicines.(AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)
Senior Indian officials began talks Thursday with Sri Lankan leaders on economic assistance, a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced the country’s economy had “collapsed.”
Sri Lankans have endured months of shortages of food, fuel and other necessities due to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves and mounting debt, worsened by the pandemic and other longer term troubles.
India’s foreign secretary and the chief government economic adviser met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe and were later scheduled to meet other top officials.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the delegation said India was ready to help Sri Lanka achieve a “quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkages.” There was no immediate comment from the Sri Lankan side.
Wickremesinghe's gloomy comments to Parliament on Wednesday appeared aimed at fending off criticism over a deteriorating situation long in the making. Economists and other Sri Lankans said they were hoping the government would find ways to revive the economy.
“What the prime minister should do is not to make announcements. He has to come up with a plan to reactivate the system,” said W.A Wijewardena, an economist and former deputy governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank.
Ordinary Sri Lankans have grown disillusioned as they skimp on meals and go without other necessities, seeing their quality of life crumble due to forces beyond their control.
At midnight Wednesday, retired government employee Dharmasena Perera leaned on his motorbike at a fuel station on the outskirts of the capital Colombo, trying to catch some sleep after spending nearly 15 hours waiting in line to buy fuel. He said he joined the line at 6 in the morning and went without lunch and dinner. At midnight, he was still waiting for his turn.
“He (the PM) always says things are getting bad and difficult. It seems he also does not have solutions,” Perera said.
At another fuel station in Gampaha, a town about 30 kilometers (18 miles) northeast of Colombo, salesman Nuwan Pradeep likewise said people were well enough aware of the crisis, but the government appeared to have no solutions.
“There is no point in just explaining the same problem to us all the time,” said Pradeep.
India has supported Sri Lanka with a $4 billion credit line to help it buy fuel and other essentials.
Sri Lanka also is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund on a bailout after it stopped payments on its debts.
Associated Press writer Sheikh Saaliq in New Delhi, India contributed to this report.7 Transportation Stocks That Can Keep Your Portfolio Moving Forward
The supply chain disruptions due to the unprecedented supply and demand imbalance brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Transportation and logistics stocks have been in the news. This sector includes a variety of companies ranging from trucking and railroad companies to companies involved in last-mile delivery to airlines and rental cars that allow for travel and leisure.
This sector has been highly volatile. But if you've been invested in transportation stocks, you've done pretty well. The Dow Transportation Average (DTA) is up 5% in the last 12 months. However, as recently as November, the index was up more than 14%. And you would have done even better with a selection of individual stocks.
We expect that this section will continue to be volatile in 2022. However, as is the case with many sectors, some companies are better positioned than others. And that's the focus of this special presentation. We give you seven transportation stocks that are likely to outperform the sector in 2022.View the "7 Transportation Stocks That Can Keep Your Portfolio Moving Forward"