Oil Price Stabilisation Fund never maintained – Gammanpila
By Thameenah Razeek
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila dropped a bombshell yesterday (15) saying that the Cabinet-approved ‘Oil Price Stabilisation Fund’ was never maintained because the Government lost foreign revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.
Speaking at a Media conference, Gammanpila said, “The Cabinet approved the establishment of the fund on 30 March 2020, before I was appointed as the Energy Minister.
The Oil Price Stabilisation Fund should be established when oil costs fall and that fund would be used to stabilise prices if oil costs rose globally. However, it was not maintained when the Government lost foreign revenue due to the pandemic and an increase in COVID-19 patients last year. As a result, the Government was forced to rely only on oil import taxes.
The Government’s spending was extremely high at the time to meet COVID-19 requirements.” Speaking further, the Minister said that the Government will study 28 global price stability solutions in a bid to create the Oil Price Stabilisation Fund. The fund would be created in the near future, he added.
While refuting the claim that Sri Lanka buys oil from a Singaporean business, he pointed out that the Government has never bought oil from Singapore and instead buys from the global market. He went on to say that before purchasing oil, they solicite bids to determine who can provide oil at a lesser cost.
“Then, companies from the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and China, as well as countries from all around the World, compete and we buy from a corporation that benefits us,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that he will take necessary action against parties attempting to shift the blame, for the increase in oil prices, to him.
“As Energy Minister, I bear a significant amount of responsibility for the announcement of the oil price increases, and many groups within the Government are attempting to blame me for nothing. This demonstrates that the Government’s opponents are not on the outside, but on the inside,” he said.