ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power & Energy has held talks on the progress of restructuring the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) with a number of multilateral and other development agencies communicating on the assistance they can offer.
Minister Kanchana Wijesekara tweeted Saturday March 11 afternoon that the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had informed the government of its intention to assist.
A roadmap and timeline will be submitted to the cabinet of ministers on the matter, said Wijesekara, adding that reforms that can be implemented before the final Act will be initiated the following week.
Progress on the restructuring of CEB was discussed yesterday. ADB, World Bank, USAID & JICA has communicated on the assistance they can offer. Roadmap & timeline will be submitted to the Cabinet. Reforms that can be implemented before the final Act, will be initiated next week. pic.twitter.com/cOoNNLF4FP
— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) March 11, 2023
As crisis-hit Sri Lanka approaches board approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a 2.9 billion dollar bailout package, the government is on a major cost-cutting drive in both the CEB and the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).
On Friday, the Ministry of Power & Energy entered collective agreements with trade unions of the two state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for a 25-percent salary increment every three years minus annual bonuses, allowances and other benefits.
Minister Wijesekara said that the bonuses, allowances and other benefits will not be continued or renewed.
“I have instructed Secretary to the Min of Power & Energy to commence the process to terminate them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of Sri Lanka’s power regulatory body has filed a fundamental rights case at the Supreme Court against a recent 66 percent electricity tariff hike.
Janaka Ratnayaka, the chairman of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said the “purported approval given by the Commission” was an unlawful decision of three out of the five members and not a decision of the commission.
The loss-making state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) implemented a 66 percent increase in the electricity tariff following a protracted conflict between the CEB and the PUCSL head Ratnayaka. The PUCSL informed the CEB that it had approved the tariff hike.
The PUCSL originally gave approval only for a 35 percent increase in the tariff after a public hearing with highly consuming households being charged heavily. (Colombo/Mar11/2023)