Govt selling country’s resources – JVP
By Treshan Fernando
The Government is attempting to amend the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Act in a bid to sell the country’s resources to private companies and foreign countries, alleged JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath. Herath claimed the new amendment, which was produced by Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila on 21 April, will give the Minister the powers to issue licences to import, distribute, store, refine and sell oil to private companies.
He explained the CPC Act No. 28 of 1961 took the power of importing, distributing, storing, refining and sale of oil in Sri Lanka away from private companies and gave these powers exclusively to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Under the UNP Government in 2002, an amendment was made to form a temporary committee to issue licence for private companies to import, distribute, store, refine and sell oil which was previously only given to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Herath added.
This temporary committee gave a 20-year licence to the Indian Oil Corporation which would last till December 2023. The Government is pushing this amendment in an attempt to extend this licence, Herath went on to say. The JVP Propaganda Secretary asserted that Gammanpila’s claims that this amendment is being submitted because of incoming U.S. investments was entirely untrue.
Herath added that a feasibility report for U.S. investment has not been submitted yet and that it will take a year, at least, to finalise. He questioned why the Government was in such a rush to pass this amendment. The aim is to sell national resources to private companies, Herath further stated.
He claimed that this is a serious national security threat. “If these are sold entirely to private companies, they can decide to cut power to the country causing serious harm,” added Herath.
He also express concerns that this decision would destroy the CPC as it would not be able to compete with private companies in the future. The Corporation is currently in a debt worth billions of rupees due to mismanagement, corruption and frauds of leaders in the past, Herath alleged.