Exclusive Friday fuel allowance for health sector

  • Keheliya announces weekly quota from allocated sheds on Fridays
  • Health Ministry official notes plan may be difficult to implement

Fuel allowances have been allocated exclusively for healthcare workers, allowing them to obtain a weekly allowance from allocated fuel sheds every Friday. 

“Following a discussion with Minister of Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, an allowance of fuel has been allocated exclusively for eligible Sri Lankan health care workers, every Friday. This will greatly aid our essential service workers in the execution of their duties,” Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella stated on Twitter yesterday (20). 

Thus, according to a letter published by Rambukwella, Wijesekera has agreed to ensure adequate fuel stocks for identified filling stations islandwide, which will be dedicated to healthcare service staff every Friday. 

All healthcare sector workers seeking this service must show proof of identification at the filing stations, while all heads of health institutions are instructed to issue a letter certifying an individual as being a part of that institution, which can also be shown as proof of identification at a filling station.

This service has the following weekly ceiling level: 40 litres for cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), 15 litres for three-wheelers, and 10 litres for motorbikes. 

The list of allocated filing stations has been published by the Health Ministry. 

However, when contacted by The Morning yesterday (20), a few hours before the Health Minister’s announcement, a senior official of the Ministry of Health said that a priority system or dedicated fuel filling stations to benefit health workers may be difficult to implement. 

“Even if we assign a separate filling station on a particular day of the week, or issue letters to give priority to health workers, it may not be possible to implement such. Due to this, we are giving the authority to the hospitals to formulate a plan that would work for them. While some hospitals are implementing this already, the Ministry will officially notify hospitals soon.”

He said that instructions are being provided to hospital directors, on a provincial level, to formulate their own plans to ensure that the health staff are able to report to duty so that services at hospitals are able to continue unhindered.

“We are giving the authority to the hospitals to communicate with the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) to arrange transport for doctors and other health staff, provincially. Hospital directors are being advised to make a flexible shift-based system for the staff, where those who live close to the hospital can be given night shifts, and those living at a distance can be given day shifts,” the senior official further stated 

Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst fuel shortage to date, with the public having to endure queues for days. This has severely affected those working in essential services, especially in the healthcare sector.