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Friday August 12th, 2022

Sri Lanka’s forex crisis to prolong fuel shortage at least for 12 months – minister

Measures will be imposed to curb fuel import bill

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s fuel import will have to be limited for the next 12 months due to a dollar shortage and a systematic fuel rationing system with a QR-code is being rolled out nationwide, the Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

The QR system is to be implemented island-wide on Tuesday 26 as a measure to supply fuel as the government cannot fulfil the daily demand, the minister said in his Twitter feed.

“Due to Forex issues, fuel imports have to be restricted in the next 12 months,” Wijesekera said on Monday (25).

Sri Lanka’s average fuel import bill is around 500-550 million US dollars per month at present while the country has only a few million usable reserves as of end-June.

The island nation has been managing the fuel from its export earnings and remittances which are much lower than the total import bill.

Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves depleted to near zero after the government under Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not seriously address a looming economic crisis. That led to a shortage of many essentials including fuel, resulting in public anger and protests which eventually forced Rajapaksa to flee the country.

An Indian 500 million US dollar credit line held the country to manage the fuel imports from mid-March to June 16.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is forced to reduce its fuel purchase because it does not have dollars to import the country’s demand, while the only other player, listed Lanka IOC’s supply is also not enough to meet the demand amid hoarding and a booming black market for fuel.

“CPC has never distributed fuel daily to every single fuel station. Practically not possible even when stocks are unlimited,” the minister said.

said.

The QR code-based National Fuel Pass will be used without the last digit number plate restrictions from August 1st, he said.

“From the 1st of August only the QR system quota will be in place & the last digit of the number plate system & other allocations will be invalid,” Wijesekera said.

He says by the end of the week different entities in the government sector, divisional secretaries, police departments, and businesses will be given options to register their vehicles too. (Colombo/July 25/2022)

Comments (1)

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  1. Tahir says:

    I believe Govt should allocate few petrol/Filling stations for general public to pumps their vehicles by paying in USD, This would definite help to counter FX crises and the ex-pat would also use the banking channel to send home/worker remittance to facilitate their families.

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Comments (1)

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Tahir says:

    I believe Govt should allocate few petrol/Filling stations for general public to pumps their vehicles by paying in USD, This would definite help to counter FX crises and the ex-pat would also use the banking channel to send home/worker remittance to facilitate their families.

Sri Lanka cancels visa of Scotswoman who documented anti-govt protests

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration and Emigration has cancelled the visa of Kayleigh Fraser, a Scotswoman who had been documenting the country’s anti-government protests on social media.

Immigration officers had approached Fraser at her home on August 02 and confiscated her passport.

“This is what will happen if you raise your voice against state violence in Sri Lanka,” Fraser wrote on Wednesday August 10, posting a letter ordering her to leave the country by August 15.

“I am proud to have been a part of this. I am proud to have met so many of you. I have… so many social enterprises I want to work on here that I know will benefit so many,” Fraser said on Instagram.

“Deporting me is a massive, massive mistake for this country. The love I have for it and its people appears to be a threat to the current rulers. Does that sound right to you?”

Fraser posted that she was not prepared for the financial cost of flights and relocation, and that all her funds were in Sri Lankan currency, and that banks were not allowing foreign transactions.

Police spokesperson Nihal Thalduwa had told a privately owned news organisation that Fraser was sharing “negative content” about Sri Lanka via her social media.

“It is not right for a foreign national to be in our country and share such mass negative content. She is not a media personnel either, to cover the protests and GotaGoGama,” he has said.

Fraser has been vocal about state sanctioned violence against protestors.

News of Fraser’s deportation has caused a small riot on social media, with many protestors voicing out their support for the foreigner who documented and showed support next to them.

Seemingly indiscriminate arrests of protestors aided by an ongoing State of Emergency have both angered and frightened Sri Lankan protestors, and many active protestors have gone into hiding to evade arrest.

Some protestors said they were “taking a break” or “distancing themselves” due to continued harassment.

However, the authorities maintain that all arrests are in accordance with the law. The government has pointed to acts of retaliatory mob violence on May 09 and the forced occupation of government buildings by protestors on July 09.

“They are calling us terrorists for holding placards. This was such a peaceful protest, the only terrorism carried out was by the government against the people,” said an active protestor, who preferred not to be named.

Fraser wrote that Sri Lankans should not forget that they got to the streets for a system change.

“Live in such a way that your children will thank you for the world they inherit,” she said.

“It’s not over till it’s over. I have an unbelievable amount of high profile people fighting this order for me to leave.”(Colombo/Aug11/2022)

 

 

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Sri Lanka to acquire 35,000MT of petrol; unloading on Aug 12

ECONOMYNEXT-  Sri Lanka to receive a cargo of 35,000 metric tonns of petrol on Thursday August 11 with unloading scheduled for Friday, Minister of Power & Energy Kanchana Wijesekara said.

Wijesekara tweeted that the ship will arrive at the Colombo port Thursday night, and that the payment for the cargo had been completed with the support of the Central Bank by Wednesday.

The minister had said earlier on Wednesday that a separate cargo of crude oil is also expected on Saturday August 13, and from August 19 onwards, locally produced fuel is expected to be released to the market from the Sapugaskanda refinery.

Meanwhile, in an earlier report, Lanka IOC, a local unit of the Indian Oil Corporation (OIC), said a vessel carrying 30,000 metric tons of fuel for LIOC is scheduled to arrive between August 10 and 15.

Related: Three shipments of fuel to arrive in Sri Lanka by mid, end July, August: Lanka IOC

Meanwhile, Wijesekara said that 5.7 million people have signed up for the QR-code facilitated National Fuel Pass.

From July 21 up to now, Wijesekara said, a total of 54.9 million litres of fuel had been sold through 1,053 CPC fuel stations while 207 LIOC stations have sold 11.26 million litres of fuel. (Colombo/Aug11/2022)

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MPs nominated to Sri Lanka’s parliamentary committee on public finance

The sun sets over the Parliament at Shri Jayewardenepura

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s parliament has appointed members to its Committee on Public Finance, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said.

According to his announcement made in parliament on Wednesday August 10, in terms of the provisions of the Standing Order 121 of Parliament, MPs Bandula Gunawardana,  Vidura Wickramanayaka,  Nalin Fernando,  Anura Priyadharshana Yapa,  Vijitha Herath,  Duminda Dissanayake,  Shehan Semasinghe,  Premitha Bandara Tennakoon and Harsha de Silva have been appointed.

Indika Anuruddha Herath,  Siripala Gamalath, Seetha Arambepola, Suren Raghavan,  M A Sumanthiran,   Kavinda Heshan Jayawardhana,  Mujibur Rahuman,  Harshana Rajakaruna,  Chaminda Wijesiri,  Isuru Dodangoda,  Anupa Pasqual and  (Prof) Ranjith Bandara also have been appointed to serve as members in the Committee on Public Finance.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe tabled a proposed framework during his time as Prime Minister under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for sectoral oversight committees in parliament with the objective of increased bipartisan parliamentary involvement in governance and policy-making.

Wickremesinghe told parliament on July 06 that under such a system, the entire parliament irrespective of party difference will participate in governance.

On July 06, he said he had approached former Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayauriya to formulate a proposal on activating the sectoral oversight committees.

Sectoral Oversight Committees shall function for the duration of Parliament and conduct its inquiries notwithstanding any adjournment or prorogation of Parliament, according to the parliament website.

The Committee of Selection shall determine the subjects and functions to be allocated to each Sectoral Oversight Committee.

The Sectoral Oversight Committees shall have the power to examine any Bill, any subsidiary legislation including Regulation, Resolution, Treaty, Report or any other matter relating to subjects and functions within their jurisdiction.

The Parliament, any Committee or a Minister may refer any matter to a Sectoral Oversight Committee having jurisdiction over the subject or function for its consideration and report. (Colombo/Aug11/2022)

 

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