The government assured that the country has sufficient stocks of petroleum oil while cautioning that panic buying may lead to short-term shortages at fuel stations.
“There are no supply shortages. If there are to be any shortages in supply, as a responsible minister, I will warn the public in advance,” Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila told the media during the weekly Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.
He charged that a retired official of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has been spreading false information, causing the public to panic.
He also noted that the decision to close Sapugaskanda oil refinery for 50 days was made in order to save valuable foreign exchange to the country.
“The aged refinery produces a high share of furnace oil in the process but it has been communicated to us that there is no need of additional furnace oil at the moment for power plants, as there is heavy rainfall in the country. Therefore, the forex used to import crude oil can be utilised to finance other essential imports,”
Commenting on a potential price hike in fuel prices, Gammanpila outlined that CPC makes a loss of Rs.14 and Rs.29 from each petrol and diesel litre, respectively, which are ultimately borne by the public.
However, he pointed out that the benefits of this concession are distributed unevenly among the rich and poor as well as vehicle users and non-vehicle users.
Therefore, he suggested that the equitability of this concession should be looked at in order to come up with a much fairer pricing model for fuel.