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Tuesday December 5th, 2023

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.


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!!!!!!!

Sri Lanka finding ways to clear 1.1mn pending cases: Justice Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is taking a series of steps to speed up 1.1 million pending court cases and encourage alternative dispute solving mechanisms, Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said.

“The delay in court cases is a serious problem,” Minister Rajapakshe told a briefing at the President’s Media Centre.

“We have already taken several steps to expedite cases.”

There were 5,680 cases in Supreme Court, 4,054 in the Court of Appeal, 6,168 in the High Court of Civil Appeal, 8,363 in the Commercial High Court, 28,000 in the High Court, 254,000 in District Courts and 791,000 in Magistrates Courts.

In 2015, only 49 percent of complaints to mediation boards were resolved. Following reforms, the ratio has been increased to 70 percent.

The value of disputes going to mediation board has been raised to one million rupees from 500,000 rupees.

To solve land problems in the post-war period, special mediation boards on property was set up in the North and the East.

Mediation boards on property will be set up in another 16 districts.

Commercial High Courts were increased to four from three.

Another Commercial High Court will be set up in the future. The consideration of cases that can go to a High Court was raised from 4 million rupees to 10 million rupees.

A commercial dispute resolution law will be introduced next January.

A small claims court has been established.

Case involving disputes below 2 million rupees can be directed to small claims court.

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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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