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Fuel queues due to CPC ‘punishing’ non-paying dealers

3 months ago

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  • Fuelling station owners delay payment expecting price drop
  • Queues to reduce with distribution being normalised
By Safrah Fazal The queues observed outside many fuelling stations over the past few days were due to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) penalising fuelling station owners that had not made the relevant payments due on 1 November by not issuing them fuel, The Morning learns. Speaking to The Morning, Petroleum Dealers’ Association Co-Secretary Kapila Naotunna stated that issues in the dispensing of fuel at fuelling stations had been resolved to a great extent. Whilst acknowledging that many distributors had not made payments for fuel as at 1 November, Naotunna alleged that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had not issued fuel to these dealers for three days to penalise the delay in payment. “There is evidence to show that the CPC didn’t issue fuel to the dealers who had not paid for stocks on 1 November as a form of punishment. There are dealers who can testify to this. This non-issuance of fuel for three days led to the re-emergence of fuel queues. Nobody can deny that the CPC did not do this. In fact, the CPC Regional Supervisors have sent messages to the dealers in writing, stating that if the dealers do not settle the payments, they will not be issued fuel indefinitely.” An excerpt of the statement, which was seen by The Morning, read: “If you have any financial difficulties, you must inform the regional office in writing two days in advance, and if you do not deposit money for the fuel stocks mentioned in the priority list, the administration has decided to refrain from supplying the relevant fuel stocks mentioned in the priority list for your filling station indefinitely.”  When The Morning contacted the CPC to verify the statement, the official confirmed that the statement was in fact shared with dealers by CPC Regional officers. Speaking to The Morning, a dealer who was allegedly “punished” stated that he did not make the payment for the load (6,600 litres) on 1 November, as he did not have sufficient funds to make the payment and had sufficient fuel for that day.  “We are expected to notify the regional supervisors if we are not obtaining a load, which I could not do. Since I did not make the payment on 1 November, they had not included me on the fuel priority list for the next two days. I cannot make the payment if my name isn’t included in the priority list.” Also, speaking to The Morning pertaining to the fuel queues, Ceylon Petroleum Private Tanker Owners’ Association Secretary Shantha Silva noted that the fuel queues had reduced to some extent with fuel being distributed to fuelling stations.  “Queues have reduced by now. We have been continuing to distribute fuel across fuelling stations.” Speaking to the media last Saturday (5), Silva noted that the fuel queues had emerged as a result of dealers not paying for fuel despite placing orders.  “On the 15th and 30th of every month, price revisions are announced. Because there is a likelihood of fuel prices going down in the global market, there was a suspicion that the prices will go down according to the price formula. The fuel shed owners were anticipating a price reduction, and although they placed orders for loads, they refrained from paying, which resulted in the issue.” Officials from the Ministry of Power and Energy and CPC who were contacted by The Morning refuted allegations of any form of “punishment” due to non-payment for fuel loads on 1 November. Queues for fuel were once again observed in certain areas of the island last week. Issuing a statement in this regard on 3 November, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara stated that that non-placement of orders by dealers anticipating a price reduction in fuel had led to fuel stations drying up.  In a tweet, the Minister however stressed that there would be no fuel price revision, and that the CPC and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation both have ample stocks to fulfill requirements guaranteed by the National Fuel Pass (NFP). “I request the dealers to place orders for their requirements,” Minister Wijesekara added. Meanwhile, CPC also stated that sufficient fuel stocks for a period of 15 days are available, refuting claims of a shortage of fuel in the country. It is also reported that the imported fuel cargos are scheduled to reach the island over the next few days. Meanwhile, the weekly fuel quota of 5 litres for three-wheelers via the National Fuel Pass has been increased to 10 litres per week from last night.  In a tweet, Minister Wijesekara stated that the quota increase will be applied for full-time three-wheeler taxis in the Western Province, registered online with the Provincial Transport Authority and the Police Department.       

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