Dayasiri blames CPC officials for petroleum crisis

A lack of adequate petroleum buffer stocks is a major factor in the current fuel crisis, said Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday, as he explained that the government would take the responsibility for such structural deficiencies which have plummeted the country into chaos. Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing, he added that systematic issues at the level of bureaucracy had allowed the issue to worsen as neither the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) nor the Ministry have a plan to avert the crisis. “We have to clearly state that it was the CPC officials who have allowed this to turn into a crisis,” Minister Jayasekara said.

Co-Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne in the meantime assured that two ships carrying fuel were scheduled to arrive in Colombo on Wednesday (8) night; one from Singapore and another from India,

“By Thursday (9) we should be able to restore supplies in Colombo and by Friday the rest of the country would be covered”, the Minister added.

On October 15, a ship carrying petrol for LIOC was rejected after two tests. At the same time, a ship bringing fuel to CPC which was supposed to have reached Sri Lanka on November 2 was delayed until 9 November. To add fuel to the fire, the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery broke down on October 31 due to a power failure and it took three days to be repaired.

“They rejected the fuel after the second test because it was pointed out that a third test done by an independent party was liable to be influenced. This was what happened in 2011, when substandard fuel was released to the market,”the Minister said. Minister Senaratne said the LIOC could not be blamed for this as they only catered to 16 percent of the market.

“The average daily usage of fuel in the country amounts to 2,500 metric tons but due to rumours, of a possible fuel shortage, consumption had shot up to 4000 metric tons last week,” he said.

“On October 30th, 3,623 metric tons were released, on October 31st 3,045 metric tons, on November 1st 2,880 metric tons, on November 2nd 2,801 metric tons, on November 3rd no petrol was released because it was a Poya Day and November 4th 2,866 metric tons were released. On November 5th once again there was no petrol released as it was a Sunday. Employees don’t turn up for distribution on holidays,”explained Senaratne. He said that though more petrol than usual was being released to the market, it was still insufficient as people were pumping their tanks full. Cabinet this week also appointed a four member ministerial advisory council to look into the present crisis, identify immediate measures which need to be taken to resolve the crisis, find out those responsible and to recommend remedial measures to avoid a future crisis.

“We discussed the problem at length at the Cabinet. The COPE Committee reports clearly indicate that even in the 2011, 2012 fiasco which incurred Rs 8.3 billion in losses, we had problems due to delays in our testing, poor communication, lack of proper planning or forecasting to meet the challenges of a changing market and the Kolonnawa tank with 15,000 metric tons hasn’t been repaired for over a year and a half, to name a few,” Minister Jayasekara explained.

The Minister also questioned as to why the committee did not request for a ship sooner rather than waiting for the crisis to worsen.

“These are jobs of the officials and when they don’t perform and it collapses, it comes down on the entire government and the President,”Jayasekara said.

The buffer stocks had been increased from 60,000 metric tons in 2015 to 90,000 metric tons at present but that too has been insufficient.

Jayasekara proposed that the Muthurajawela storage be developed further so that stocks could be increased. 

Share on Google Plus

About Lankaimage lanka

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.