Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera informed Parliament that an advance payment for petrol shipments is expected to be made today (7) to get them between 13, 14, and 15 July, earlier than the scheduled shipment by 22 July, for a higher price.
USD 26 million will be paid to obtain the petrol shipment.
In response to a question raised by Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) MP Vijitha Herath to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Minister said although the proposals were called to secure a petrol shipment between 10 and 15 July, only one supplier agreed to provide fuel, but at a higher price.
“We held discussions with a Malaysian oil company to get petrol. They said they could only supply a shipment between 10 and 15 July. Unfortunately, we could not confirm a date for that, However, another company agreed to supply petrol prior to that, between 13 and 15 July. But they want a higher price. We can secure that shipment if you agree. If not, we have to wait until 23 July,” Wijesekera told Herath.
The Minister informed Parliament that he got approval from both the President and the Prime Minister to purchase this particular shipment without waiting till 22 July. “It is sad that some parties mislead the public that we are purchasing fuel at higher prices to get commissions. This decision was taken after Cabinet approval.
If you want to hold an investigation you can summon us before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) or Committee on Public Accounts (COPA),” he said. Speaking further, Wijesekera said suppliers are presenting challenging conditions when purchasing the fuel shipments. “We checked the possibility of opening Letters of Credit (LCs) at foreign banks through the supplier itself. But that was unsuccessful. Thus, providing fuel without interruption has become a great challenge,” he added.
By Methmalie Dissanayake