Sri Lankan government has ordered a shutdown of public sector offices and asked its employees to work from home as of Monday, due to chronic fuel shortages as the country struggles to recover from the worst economic crisis in decades.
Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry has asked government-recognized private schools to restrict online classes starting next week due to prolonged power cuts, according to the Mirror Daily newspaper.
With its existing fuel supplies expected to run out in a few days, the island nation is struggling to find foreign exchange to pay for imports.
Certain loose ends on the part of the government, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, have pushed the country into its worst economic crisis since the time of its independence in 1948.
“Taking into consideration the severe limits on fuel supply, the weak public transport system and the difficulty of using private vehicles, this circular allows minimal staff to report to work from home from Monday,” the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry said in the circular issued on Friday.
Furthermore, the circular stated that those employed in essential services such as the health care sector will continue to report to the office.
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said in a statement on Friday that approximately four to five billion people could be directly affected by food shortages in the coming months.
To promote economic recovery, mitigate the looming food crisis and to deal with chronic fuel shortages, the government of Sri Lanka has taken a number of measures, including approving the four-day work week for the public sector and imposing a 2.5 percent social contribution tax on companies based on their turnover.