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Sunday December 4th, 2022

Transport providers in Sri Lanka struggle to find fuel amid shortage

File photo of fuel queue in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis is affecting daily office transport, as service providers are finding it increasingly difficult to keep their buses and vans running, even as private bus owners warn of an imminent collapse of public transport in the country.

A spokesperson for Deepna Transport, a Colombo-based office transport service, told EconomyNext that finding fuel has been a challenge.

‘’I have been in search of fuel all over. I went to around 30 stations to find diesel. I haven’t cancelled anything, nor taken up any work,’’ he said.

Minister of Power Udaya Gamanpila in a parliament session on Wednesday (23) said: “The problem we are facing is not a power or fuel problem. It is the non-availability of dollars.”

He also stated that Sri Lanka would receive 37,500 metric tonnes of diesel worth $35.3 million.

‘’Petrol sheds are rationing what can be given. We need diesel of at least 10,000 rupees to run the daily so when its rationed like this we are wasting time, and the diesel we already have,’’ several transport providers told EconomyNext.

Some fuel stations denied reports that they’re hiding their stocks. “We simply don’t have diesel to provide,’’ one spokesperson said.

However, a fuel station in Talawakele, Kandy, said that due to the shortage, rationing was necessary to make sure that there was enough fuel to go around.

“There are a lot of private buses in this area,” a source told EconomyNext.

“We give each bus around 2,000 to 3,000 rupees worth of petrol, so that they can run the vehicles without stopping. We have to do this because the fuel has to be distributed among everyone as equally as possible since there are very few petrol sheds in the area. ”

“The crisis has scared a few customers and they would pump petrol even if the tanks were full,” he said.

Among the scared consumers are Sri Lanka’s private bus owners.

President of the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association Gemunu Wijeratne told reporters on Saturday (26) that the 2,000-rupee cap on the diesel sold to private buses.

“This is not practical, because a bus needs about 6,000 to 7,000 rupees worth of diesel a day to operate short distances.  For long distance it’s about 10,000 rupees. This is severely impacting us,” he said.

Warning that by Monday (28) buses may not be able to find diesel at all, Wijeratne said his association plans to inform the Transport Ministry that private bus owners will be compelled to limit their operations whether it’s short distance or long.

“If this continues, public transport will collapse and the economy will come to a standstill,” he said.

Related:

Address fuel shortage to prevent collapse of public transport: Sri Lanka private bus owners

Transporters were expecting shortcomings in fuel and many have taken up tactics to cope with business. Drivers stated that they would go to many different petrol sheds to get a full tank.

‘’I’ve lost diesel by attempting to find diesel! I went to five cities in search of diesel, only to come home to nothing. I have a couple of buses in the network and a few were not able to run today,’’ mentioned Lakshitha, a private transport provider.

He went on to state that several of his passengers had to resort to working from home, and that many had to use public transport to report to work.

‘’There are were more vehicles in petrol sheds rather than on the road,’’ he added.

On Saturday morning, Sri Lanka’s Indian Oil Corporation unit S raised the price of petrol by 20 rupees a litre to 204 rupees and that of diesel by 15 rupees to139 rupees, amid a rise in global prices.

Sri Lanka taxes petrol at higher rate and diesel at a lower rate, despite diesel being more expensive to import. LIOC previously raised petrol to 184rupees  to a litre when state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) held prices at 177 rupees.

The state-run CPC cannot buy enough dollars in the market at the current 200 to the US dollar rate due to foreign exchange shortages. The shortages come from rupees injected into the banking system to maintain low interest rates which it has pushed up credit and demand for all imports.

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila has sought a price increase but the cabinet of ministers last week decided not to raise prices.

The CPC says it is losing 551 million rupees a day due to rising fuel prices in February. Unless prices are increased it cannot find the rupees to buy dollars. In the past, losses were covered by tax cuts and loans from state banks. (Colombo/Feb25/2022)

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  1. Edie says:

    This is tipical GOTA ‘S saubagya palanaya FANTASTIC. Asia’ s ASHCHARYA, Mamer Thamai Okkoma Ariyata kalay!!!!!!
    Gota Bohoma Ondai!!!!!!!

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  1. Edie says:

    This is tipical GOTA ‘S saubagya palanaya FANTASTIC. Asia’ s ASHCHARYA, Mamer Thamai Okkoma Ariyata kalay!!!!!!
    Gota Bohoma Ondai!!!!!!!

Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium on Sri Lanka debt, 15 years of debt restructuring

ECONOMYNEXT — The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis, India’s The Hindustan Times reported.

While the Paris Club has yet to formally reach out to India and China, Colombo has yet to initiate a formal dialogue with the Xi Jinping regime, the newspaper reported on Saturday December 03, inferring that the chances of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approving its 2.9 billion dollar extended fund facility for Sri Lanka in December now ranges from very low to nonexistent.

“This means that Sri Lanka will have to wait for the March IMF meeting of the IMF before any aid is extended by the Bretton Woods institution,” the newspaper reported.

“Fact is that for Sri Lanka to revive, creditors will have to take a huge hair cut with Paris Club clearly hinting that global south should also take the same cut as global north notwithstanding the inequitable distribution of wealth. In the meantime, as Colombo is still to get its act together and initiate a dialogue and debt reconciliation with China, it will need bridge funding to sustain the next three month before the IMF executive board meeting in March 2023. Clearly, things will get much worse for Sri Lanka before they get any better—both economically and politically,” the report said. (Colombo/Dec04/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices up amid low volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices picked up at the last auction in November amid low volumes, brokers said.

“Auction offerings continued to record a further decline and totalled 4.2 million Kilograms, of which Ex-Estate offerings comprised of 0.6 million Kilograms. There was good demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea brokers said.

“In the Ex-Estate catalogues, overall quality of teas showed no appreciable change. Here again, there was good demand in the backdrop of extremely low volumes.”

High Growns

BOP Best Westerns were firm to 50 rupees per kg dearer. Below best and plainer types were Rs.50/- per kg easier on last.

Nuwara Eliya’s were firm.

BOPF Best Westerns were firm to selectively dearer. Below best and plainer teas declined by 50 rupees per kg.

Uva/Uda Pussellawas’ were generally firm and price variances were often reflective of quality with the exception of Select Best Uva BOPF’s which were firm and up to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer.

CTC teas, in general, were mostly firm.

“Most regular buyers were active, with perhaps a slightly more forceful trend from the local trade,” brokers said.

Corresponding OP1’s met with improved demand. Well-made OP/OPA’s in general were fully firm, whilst the Below Best varieties and poorer sorts met with improved demand. PEK/PEK1’s, in general, were fully firm to selectively dearer.

In the Tippy catalogues, well-made FBOP/FF1’s sold around last levels, whilst the cleaner Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated. Balance too were dearer to a lesser extent.

In the Premium catalogues, very Tippy teas continued to attract good demand. Best were firm to selectively dearer, whilst the Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated

Low Growns

Low Growns comprised 1.8 million Kilograms. Market met with improved demand, in general.

In the Leafy & Semi Leafy catalogues, select Best BOP1/OP1’s were fully firm, whilst the Below Best/bolder BOP1’s were barely steady.

Low-grown teas, farmed mainly by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.

Low-grown CTC prices have gained this week to 982.80 per kilogram this week from 934.76 per kilogram last week.

Few Select best BOP1s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower. Poorer types maintained.

BOPF’s in general, firm market.

FBOPF/FBOPF1’s select best and best increased in value, whilst the below best and bottom held firm.

Selected best BOP1’s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower.Poorer types maintained.

OP1’s selects best together with best and below best were firm to dearer. Poorer sorts were fully firm.

Medium Growns

BOPF’s, select best gained by 50 rupees per kilogram. Others maintained.

BOP1’s select best dearer by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

OP1: select best gained by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others dearer by 100 rupees per kg.

OP/OPA’s in general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg whilst the poorer sorts were firm.

PEK’s Select best gained by 50 rupees per kg whilst all others maintained. PEK1: In general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg. (Colombo/Dec 04/2022)

 

 

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Sri Lanka Ports Authority East Terminal contractor paid: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority had paid a deposit for a gantry crane and made the required payment for the contractor to complete building the East Container Terminal, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.

The East Container Terminal, a part of which is already built is being completed as a fully SLPA owned terminal at a cost of 480 million dollars Ports and Shipping Minister de Silva said.

“ECT we are funding with money available in the ports authority,” he said.

“Up to now we have paid an advance for the gantry crane. And for the construction we have paid all the money agreed with the contractor. So that is going on well.”

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s soft-pegged (flexible exchange rate) central bank which has created difficulties in funding the project.

“Every penny we collect as dollars we are keeping them separately and utilizing that for the Eastern Terminal work,” Minister de Silva said.

“We are confident that the ECT will be completed within the envisaged time. It is a difficult task in view of the dollar problem.

Banks were also not releasing the dollar deposits of the SLPA earlier but are now doing so, he said.

“Our deposits in banks they have utilized for urgent other national purposes,” he said.

“So they are releasing that money slowly. I am happy that they are releasing that money little by little. So with that we will be able to manage that.”

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