Fuel Crisis: Priority will be given to transportation sector – Gammanpila

Fuel Crisis: Priority will be given to transportation sector – Gammanpila

Fuel Crisis: Priority will be given to transportation sector – Gammanpila

Written by Zulfick Farzan

17 Jan, 2022 | 5:27 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila has warned that if the fuel imported to the country is released to the Ceylon Electricity Board for electricity generation, there will be a shortage of fuel for vehicles.

“We were compelled to reach a decision to only release fuel to the CEB if they deliver payment in USD,” the Minister told News 1st adding that Sri Lanka does not have oil deposits or large stocks of fuel to be given to the CEB.

“We can only procure fuel for the CEB if they can provide us with payment in USD,” he said.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has already delivered 1,500 metric tons of diesel per day in the last two days.

“At present, there are two tankers anchored at sea with a total of 76,000 MT of diesel. If the (CEB) can provide us with the US Dollars to unload one of them, we can deliver diesel to the Ceylon Electricity Board,” he told News 1st while denying that he will be held accountable for any power-cuts that may arise over the shortage of fuel to generate electricity.

Minister Gammanpila said he is NOT vested with the responsibility of sourcing US Dollars for the country, adding that he has no power to even print US dollars.

“The issue is not the fact that the CEB owes the CPC over Rs. 90 Billion. The issue is that we have no foreign exchange to procure the fuel,” he elaborated adding that even if the CEB repays its debt in its entirety, the CPC is not in a position to deliver fuel in the absence of US dollars.

Minister Udaya Gammanpila noted that the existing stocks of fuel are sufficient for domestic usage, industries, and vehicles, and if the fuel is delivered to the CEB, the CPC will face a shortage of delivering fuel for domestic usage, industries, and vehicles.

He said that in September 2021, the CEB was informed that if they require diesel of furnace oil they need to source the foreign exchange required for the procurement, however, the CEB had responded that they would not require fuel until the end of January 2022.

“However, on the 7th of January they told us that they need 3,000 MT of Furnace Oil daily and we have started to deliver it to them,” he said, adding that the stocks will be delivered until 22nd January 2022.

“But, on the 11th of January, they informed us that they require diesel from the 13th of January. At a time when we do not maintain large stocks, we do not produce oil and when we do not have the foreign exchange to procure the oil, how can be delivered when they inform us all of a sudden?” said Gammanpila.

‘If we deliver, the country would stop. Electricity is something that can be controlled. However, when it comes to the transportation sector, there are only two things. We have fuel or we do not have fuel. Hence, we will have to give priority to the transportation sector over power generation.” said the Minister.

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