No funds to release crude oil shipment – Minister

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Admitting that the shutting down of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery was a huge mistake, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Kanchana Wijesekara said the crude oil shipment to restart the refinery has been in Sri Lankan waters for two weeks as the Ministry of Power and Energy was unable to find funds to release it.Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing, Wijesekara said finding funds to release the shipment was delayed as salaries for public sector employees had to be deposited.

He said the shipment was in Sri Lankan waters and requires USD 75 million to clear, and that the Ministry was attempting to obtain the funds for it.

“A proposal has been forwarded to Parliament to extend our credit limit as well as money printing in this connection to the Ministry. Once all this is over we will be able to purchase and clear the crude oil shipment. The issue that there is a problem in opening Letters of Credit and we are trying other options. We hope the shipment will be cleared today (25),” he said.

BY Thameenah Razeek