Sri Lanka’s two major newspapers suspended publication on Saturday due to newsprint shortages and escalating prices caused by the country’s worst-ever currency crisis.
The Island, an English daily along with its Sinhalese newspaper Divayina, went out of print as newsprint shortages and rising prices hit the media.
“We regret to inform our readers that we have been forced to suspend publication of the print edition of The Island on Saturday until further notice due to newsprint shortages,” Upali Newspapers Limited said in a statement. communicated.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst currency crisis ever after the pandemic hit the country’s income from tourism and remittances.
Newsprint import costs have also risen remarkably since the government’s decision earlier this month to allow the Sri Lankan rupee to float against the US dollar.
The Island newspaper, which has been in print since October 1981, will now operate as an electronic newspaper.
Sri Lanka is facing an acute economic and energy crisis triggered by the shortage of foreign exchange. A sudden rise in commodity prices and a fuel shortage forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours outside gas stations. People also face long hours of power outages daily.
All basic necessities are in short supply due to import restrictions imposed by the forex crisis.
As part of its measures to deal with the crisis, the Sri Lankan government has requested assistance from India. After months of resistance, the government is preparing to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic rescue plan.
In a related development, the Indian Oil Corporation’s local entity LIOC carried out a further hike in gasoline prices effective Friday midnight. This was the LIOC’s fourth price increase since February.
India recently announced a $1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to help the country weather the economic crisis. New Delhi extended a $500 million line of credit to Colombo in February to help it purchase petroleum products.