The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) earlier said it does not need diesel for January, suddenly out of the blue it goes back on its word and requests diesel on 11 January, Energy Minister Udaya Gamannpila said yesterday (January 17).
If imported diesel stocks are given to the CEB then there will be a diesel shortage for motor vehicles. There are no US dollars to purchase fuel for the CEB. If the CEB gives US dollars, then we can import fuel for their operations, Gammanpila said.
“The monthly export income of Sri Lanka is US$ 1 billion and the country receives only US$ 750 million in reality. It is difficult to allocate US$ 400 to import fuel which is 55 per cent of the monthly export income, when there is a looming economic crisis. I cannot find US dollars for electricity. It is the responsibility of the relevant authorities,” he said.
Gammanpila also said two fuel tankers were anchored at the port but unable to unload the consignment due to the shortage of US dollars. “If the authorities give the necessary funds, we can release one shipment and provide diesel. We also have to pay US$ 18,000 as demurrage for these ships too,”Gammanpila pointed out.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Bingun Menaka Gamage)