An Echelon Media Company
Friday December 9th, 2022

Private buses on strike in Sri Lanka over fuel issue, fare revision

Sri Lanka’s private bus service will be unable to function at normal levels until a solution for the fuel crisis is proposed

ECONOMYNEXT – Private bus operators in Sri Lanka are on strike in several parts of the island, limiting their services to 10 percent of the usual capacity, in protest of not receiving adequate fuel.

Chairman of Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) Gemunu Wijeratne confirmed the strike.

Meanwhile, another bus owner’s association is on a separate strike protesting a fare revision, he told EconomyNext on Friday August 05.

“Today around 10 percent or 1,000 to 1,500 buses will operate in areas where they can find fuel. Around 10,000 buses still cannot be added to the service due to lack of fuel,” said Wijeratne.

“In most areas including parts of the southern province, Madirigiriya and some areas in the Kurunegala district, buses are not operating because they cannot find fuel for transport. In the southern province most buses have not been operating for the past two days,” he said.

On Thursday, National Transportation Commission (NTC) Director General Nilan Miranda said fuel was being given to privately owned long distance transport buses at the Makumbura Multimodal Centre continuously and from Friday onwards long distance buses would be issued diesel from the Bastian road bus station in Colombo.

Miranda said long distance buses will be given around 125-150 litres of diesel at a time.

On Friday, at an inspection tour at the Bastian road bus station said Miranda said fuel will be given only for long distance buses scheduled to operate and asked bus owners to continue their service without inconveniencing the public.

For short distance buses, he said, fuel will be supplied at Sri Lanka Transportation Board (SLTB) fuel station, though he acknowledged that this has not been done properly.

“As promised, fuel is issued to long distance buses on Bastian road. That’s fine for long distance buses, but this issue is with the short distance buses,” said Wijeratne.

A discussion was held in this regard with officials of the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and a pledge was made to resolve the issue by next week, he said.

“The CPC chairman said he he will look into the matter and will come up with a system to issue diesel starting next week,” said Wijeratne.

Meanwhile, Sajitha Wijithakumara, the Chairman of Inter Provincial Bus Owners Association, said inter-provincial buses will not operate until the decision to revise bus fares by 11.14 percent is not withdrawn.

“When the diesel price has reduced only by 10 rupees, they have reduced the bus fare by 11.4 percent. We are asking that they reverse the decision immediately and give the maximum amount for buses for transportation and we will continue the service,” Wijithakumara told the privately owned Derana TV on Friday. (Colombo/Aug05/2022)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka bond yields end higher, kerb dollar Rs370/371

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka bonds yields ended up and the T-bills eased on active trade on Friday, dealers said.

The US dollar was 370/371 rupees in the kerb.

“The bond rates went up, however more interest was seen in the short term bills by the investors” dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2024 closed at 31.90/32.20 percent on Friday, up from 31.25/70 percent at Thursday’s close.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 30.30/31.30 percent steady from 30.30/31.00 percent.

The three-month T-bills closed at 30.75/31.30 percent, down from 32.00/32.25 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar unchanged.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 371.78 and 372.00 for small transactions, data showed.

Buying rates are between 361.78 – 362.00 rupees. (Colombo/Dec 09/2022)

Continue Reading

Foreign minister, US ambassador discuss future assistance to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT — In a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung discussed ways in which the United States can continue to support Sri Lanka going forward, the Ambassador said.

Chung tweeted Friday December 09 afternoon that the two officials had reflected on the “twists and turns” of 2022, at the meeting.

Minister Sabry was recently in Washington D.C. where he US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A foreign ministry statement said the two officials held productive discussions at the Department of State on December 02 on further elevating bilateral relations in diverse spheres, including the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations which will be marked in 2023.

Incidentally, Sri Lanka also celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence from the British in 2023, and President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given himself and all parties that represent parliament a deadline to find a permanent solution to Sri Lanka’s decades-long ethnic issue.

The US has been vocal about Sri Lanka addressing concerns about its human rights record since the end of the civil war in 2009 and was a sponsor of the latest resolution on Sri Lanka passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Unlike previous resolutions, this year’s iteration makes specific reference to the country’s prevailing currency crisis and calls for investigations on corruption allegations.

In the lead up to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Minister Sabry Sri Lanka’s government under then new president Wickremesinghe does not want any confrontation with any international partner but will oppose any anti-constitutional move forced upon the country.

On the eve of the sessions on October 06, Sabry said countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, who led the UNHRC core group on Sri Lanka, are greatly influenced by domestic-level lobbying by pressure groups from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

These pronouncements notwithstanding, the Wickremesnghe government has been making inroads to the West as well as India and Japan, eager to obtain their assistance in seeing Sri Lanka through the ongoing crisis.

The island nation has entered into a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an extended fund facility of 2.9 billion dollars to be disbursed over a period of four years, subject to a successful debt restructure programme and structural reforms.

Much depends on whether or not China agrees to restructure Sri Lanka’s 7.4 billion dollar outstanding debt to the emerging superpower. Beijing’s apparent hesitance to go for a swift restructure prompted Tamil National Alliance MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam to warn of possible “go home, China” protests in Colombo, similar to the wave of protests that forced the exit of former pro-China President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The TNA will be a key player in upcoming talks with the Wickremesinghe government on a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)

Continue Reading

India smogs out Sri Lanka’s China tower observers


ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Chinese-built Lotus Tower has halved visitors to its observation deck an official said as dirty air flowing from India triggered air quality warnings and schools in the capital closed.

“Masks are mandatory at the observation deck and roughly around 50 to 60 can go up to the observation deck at a time, time limits have not been altered and still persists at 20 minutes for observation,” the official told EconomyNext.

Prior to the smog, 120 observers were permitted at once to the deck.

However, even after limitations the Lotus Tower has continued to draw visitors, and revenues are coming in, the official said.

The tower built with a Chinese loan by the cash rich Telecom Regulatory Commission has been described by critics as a white elephant that eats the money earned from telecom operators mainly as spectrum fees.

Sri Lanka’s National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said India air heavily polluted with particulate matter was flowing across the island into a depression in the South West Bengal Bay. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)



Continue Reading