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Two prominent Sri Lankan newspapers are stopping print editions due to a lack of paper, according to their owner, the latest victims of the island's economic woes.

After its foreign reserves plummeted, the 22-million-strong South Asian nation is experiencing its greatest economic meltdown since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.

Upali Newspapers, a privately held company, announced that their English-language daily, The Island, and its Sinhalese sister, Divaina, will only be available online "due to the current newsprint crisis."

Other major national newspapers have also cut pages as expenses have risen by more than a third in the last five months, as well as issues obtaining supplies from abroad.

Last week, school tests for over three million of Sri Lanka's 4.5 million students were postponed indefinitely due to a shortage of paper and ink.

The dollar scarcity has resulted in energy shortages affecting all sectors, as well as surging prices, with inflation reaching a five-month high of 17.5 percent in February.

Motorists must queue at petrol stations, and at least four people have died in the last week while waiting for long periods of time to refuel.

Officials from the Energy Ministry said they were able to raise $42 million on Friday to pay for a cargo of diesel and aviation gasoline that had been stuck at the Colombo port for over two weeks due to a lack of dollars.

The government allowed the rupee to weaken earlier this month and declared that it will seek an IMF rescue to restructure its foreign debt.

This year, Sri Lanka would require over $7 billion to service its external debt, but the country's foreign reserves have fallen to $2.3 billion, down from $7.5 billion when the present government took office in November 2019.

To get out of its currency problem, the island is looking for further loans from India, China, and other countries.

When the pandemic struck, Sri Lanka was in the midst of a profound economic crisis, with foreign worker remittances plummeting and the lucrative tourism sector, a major source of revenue, crippled.