Sri Lanka can’t afford enough fuel imports, says energy minister

ABU DHABI – Sri Lanka is still struggling to afford international fuel prices and is unable to fully procure the country’s requirements, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

The cash-strapped country is still seeking financial assistance from oil-producing nations, but has yet to secure any aid apart from an existing deal with India, Wijesekera said Tuesday (Nov 1) on the sidelines of the Adipec conference in Abu Dhabi.

Sri Lanka’s financial crisis has been stretching on for months, impeding its ability to pay for food and fuel.

“It’s very difficult for us to access letters of credit or give any other guarantees on payments,” he said.

The country expects a diesel cargo from China to arrive by the end of November, which will help meet its needs for several months, he said.

Beijing is donating 10.6 million litres of diesel to Sri Lankan farmers and fishermen in remote areas of the South Asian island nation, to “upgrade livelihood,” the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said in a tweet.

Sri Lanka is seeking to privatize its oil industry, but has yet to make a deal, he added. It earlier implemented a national fuel-management program that helped reduce consumption by 40%, and is still in discussions with the International Monetary Fund for financial aid, he said.

Imports of Russian oil and fuel are also still under consideration. “It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, as long its affordable for Sri Lanka,” he said.



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