Fuel to be released as normal from today
- Fuel ships expected tomorrow, on 10 and 16 June
- Ranil moots coupon system for fuel, Kanchana says rationing system being drafted
Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said yesterday (7) that the release of fuel stocks to the market will resume as normal from today (8).
“Generally, 5,400 metric tonnes (MT) of diesel is released, while 3,400 MT of petrol is released to the market daily. In the past few days, we prioritised the Ceylon Electricity Board, the transport sector and the Port and thus only 3,200 MT of diesel and 2,800 MT of petrol were released to the market daily. From tomorrow, we will release 5,000 MT of diesel and 3,500 MT of petrol again,” said Wijesekera while addressing the Parliament yesterday.
“We decided this as a fuel ship under the Indian credit line is due to arrive on 16 June, while two more fuel ships will come tomorrow (9) and on 10 June, as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has allocated funds for them.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday in Parliament that a coupon system may have to be implemented for fuel in the future.
“The country spends $ 500 million per month on fuel. It should be kept in mind that the current global crisis risks raising oil prices. Some estimate that global oil prices will rise by as much as 40% by the end of this year. In this context, the idea of introducing a coupon system for fuel cannot be ruled out. Somehow, we have to find $ 3,300 million worth of fuel for the next six months,” said Wickremesinghe.
Explaining further, Wijesekera said that a programme for a rationing system is being drafted at the moment.
“From tomorrow, Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) depots will get more fuel to service the transport sector – both public and private, school van services and diesel run vehicles of the tourism industry. We have also prioritised the fisheries and agriculture industries. For every harbour, we will give 45 loads of fuel per day, and diesel and kerosene for agriculture purposes will be prioritised from the fuel sheds to agricultural officers,” said Wijesekera.
Early this year, India initially extended a $ 500 million credit line for fuel imports to Sri Lanka. It was later extended by $ 200 million. With these credit lines now running dry, Sri Lanka is once again facing difficulties in importing fuel as the economic crisis, fuelled by the shortage of foreign exchange reserves, has affected the country’s energy sector.
“For this month as well, there is leftover money from that for some fuel imports,” said Wijesekera.
However, last month, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal to obtain another $ 500 million credit facility from the Export-Import Bank of India to fund Sri Lanka’s fuel imports. Wijesekera said yesterday that the Government is awaiting advice from India on how to proceed with the imports through this facility in the future.