President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directive to the Finance Ministry to release US dollars to pay for fuel shipments has not yet been a reality, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday (February 28).
Gammanpila said the special Cabinet meeting held on 22 February was primarily focused on the fuel crisis.
The President said solutions to the crisis would be provided as soon as possible, which has still not happened. Although the Central Bank has aided the Ministry of Energy earlier, they are unable to assist the Ministry any further over the fuel crisis, he stated.
The Minister was speaking at an event where Greenstat Hydrogen India and the Petroleum Development Authority of Sri Lanka (PDASL) signed an agreement to collaborate on a pilot project to generate green hydrogen in Sri Lanka.
In response to a question as to when the fuel crisis will end, he said that it will be solved once the Central Bank releases funds to the two State Banks from whom the CPC has obtained loans.
“We will make sure that there is no delay in the release of fuel shipments following payments. The Government should eliminate the tax on fuel imports. The Finance Ministry collects
Rs 331 million per day from the fuel import tax. When the tax is removed, the CPC’s loss will be reduced,” he said.
In addition, he said fuel stations have been directed to limit the amount of fuel released to vehicles.
When asked about the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war on fuel imports, he stated that due to the war, a barrel of crude oil had surpassed USD 100.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Thameenah Razeek)