Economic hardships posed a graver threat to the country than LTTE terrorism, Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila yesterday told the media, adding that there were diesel stocks for four days in the country and a ship carrying diesel would arrive today.
Sri Lanka had 22,000 metric tonnes of diesel (by 01 March).
“We have decided to limit the amount of diesel issued to the market.
He added that the government had not provided his ministry with a subsidy to import fuel.
“If there is no support from the government how could I import fuel?”
Minister Gammanpila said that he had presented several strategies to the leaders of the government on how to overcome the challenges. However, they had not addressed the issue, he said.
“People ask me when the fuel crisis will end. I tell them that this crisis will be over when the dollar shortage ends. There is no such thing as a fuel shortage, or a gas shortage or a medicine shortage. There is only a shortage of dollars,” he said.
The Minister said that Sri Lanka had imported goods amounting to USD 21 billion in 2021. Out of that USD 2.8 billion was spent on fuel imports. USD 66 billion was spent on importing non-essential items including bottled water. USD 400 million was spent on dhal imports
“We import a lot of foreign fruits. We are told foreign tourists want them. However, I am certain that they will eat our tropical fruits. I am also certain that no one wants to come here, suffer through power cuts or fuel shortages that would prevent him and her from travelling around the country. We have to understand the crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chaminda Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretary to the Ministry said that they couldn’t predict when the fuel shortages would end.
(Source: The Island – By Rathindra Kuruwita)