ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) seeking a probe into shortcomings with state-owned fuel suppliers.
Wijesekera tweeted on Thursday August 19 that he is seeking an investigation into the activities of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd regarding fuel procurement, evaluation of proposals, non placement of orders, selection of suppliers and delays in payments.
Today I lodged a complaint with the CID to investigate CPC & CPSTL activities. Requested to investigate Fuel procurement, Evaluation of proposals, Non placement of orders, Selection of suppliers, Delays in payments, Distribution irregularities & Allegations made by individuals.
— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) August 18, 2022
In the wake of Sri Lanka’s forex crisis and after the Central Bank under Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal floated the rupee in March rapid inflation followed severely affecting the import sector and limiting supplies of cooking gas and fuel.
With debt defaulting, many financial institutes were downgraded by international rating agencies, making international fuel suppliers reluctant to sign long term or credit based fuel supply deals with Sri Lanka.
Minister Wijesekara on several occasions said that suppliers not replying to tender calls and the inability to open letters of credit have severely affected securing long term supplies.
However, on August 10, the minister told parliament that the procurement process is still continuing, adding that around ten suppliers have responded to tender calls, though eight of them have yet to make a final confirmation.
Even though it was mentioned that the government is discussing with Russian authorities about possible fuel dealerships, no official information regarding the progress of discussions has been disclosed to date.
He also said several complaints have been received that fuel types, such as kerosene which is being issued to the market on a limited basis due to unavailability of stocks, do not reach the market destination. Consumers purchase them midway from transportation bowsers.
Before the QR code-enabled fuel quota system was in place, media reports showed fuel transport bowsers of state owned CEYPETCO and Lanka IOC selling fuel to individuals before arriving at the destination fuel station.
Wijesekera said the complaint also requests the CID to look into distribution irregularities and allegations made by individuals against the CPC and CPSTL. (Colombo/Aug18/2022)