The three-member committee appointed by the President Maithripala Sirisena to investigate the cause of the recent fuel shortage revealed that Ceylon Petroleum Corporation officials who knew of the impending crisis had not maintained the normal stocks.

“On an average day, Sri Lanka has a storage capacity for 120,000 metric tonnes (MT) of fuel when our daily requirement is only 2000 metric tonnes,” committee member Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

The Presidential Committee: Ministers Dr Sarath Amunugama, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Patali Champika Ranawaka.     

“However all systemised inventories had been ignored and stocks had not been maintained at these facilities,”he said.

He added that there had been no inventories and neither were higher-ups informed of the impending shortage. “We did a graphic presentation and found that by October 17, many knew of the impending crisis, but none had informed the management.”

When asked if ‘sabotage’ was suspected, the Minister added that it had not been ruled out and that an impartial inquiry should be undertaken to ascertain who the culprits are. “When I was the Minister, during the 100-days programme, we increased our storage capacity from 60,000 MT to 90,000. LIOC can store up to 15,000 MT and we have an additional 8,000 MT at the depot,” he said. “We knew when stocks were running low and we had enough time to work out a new shipment.”

The Minister elaborating further added that a minimum of 21 days is required to procure and bring into the country another stock and it could have been done, had the higher management been alerted of the situation on October 17.

The report on the fuel crisis signed off by Special Projects Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama was presented to President Maithripala Sirisena at the cabinet meeting in parliament yesterday. The Ministerial sub-committee was appointed by the President to investigate the cause of the islandwide fuel shortage. The committee comprised of Ministers Champika Ranawaka, Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Anura PriyadarshanaYapa.

Among some of the recommendations proposed, it has been suggested that the systemised inventory be utilised again since it provides sufficient notice and time to procure new stocks. “We need to make optimal and efficient use of the storage facilities. This way even if there is a surge in demand, the stocks maintained would suffice.”

When asked if the Trincomalee oil tanks could be used, as proposed by the Unions, Minister Ranawaka added that while it was a viable option it wasn’t the solution.

“The tanks need rehabilitation and refurbishment, while it can be done, we don’t need it as our storage capacity is sufficient.” 

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