Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera says that the exact date of the return of the tanker is yet to be announced and expressed confidence that it would be possible to announce it on Monday. He stated this addressing a media briefing held today (26) regarding the current fuel crisis in the country.
Minister added that the fuel queues would continue for another year as the current dollar deficit continues to worsen.
Speaking at a media briefing today, Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that the government is compelled to reduce monthly fuel expenditure from US $ 630 million to US $ 350 in ib the coming months and that a program should be introduced to give priority to essential services and public transport.
He also said that a decision was taken at a meeting of the Security Council yesterday to introduce a token system so that people queuing at every petrol station could receive fuel from one petrol station from Monday.
Speaking further Minister Kanchana Wijeskara said,
“Currently, Sri Lanka owes about $ 735 million to its oil suppliers. Nobody will give us fuel without making these payments. The money we have When we add up all the money allocated to us by the Central Bank for the People’s Bank letter of credit, we have about $ 135 million. But even then there is a deficit of about $ 550 million.
This is a very sad situation. We are currently considering new suppliers. So far 140 proposals have been received in good faith. They are being studied separately by four teams of officials on petrol and diesel fuel as well as jet fuel. Of these, there are currently only 5 suggestions we can consider moving forward quickly. But we are always taking the necessary steps to buy oil in the face of the crisis at the lowest prices. ”
With the downgrading of our banks, some of the suppliers who were with us have opted out. We will continue to face this situation in the near future. Daily fuel queues will not be eliminated for at least a year until proper management is done, ”he said.