Even though Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga blames the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) for the ongoing fuel crisis, it is in fact his poor performance as a Minister that had led to this crisis. The Minister’s poor performance which is highlighted in the MP Monitoring project is testimony to this issue.
So far he has misled the people by providing contradictory statements regarding the on-going crisis.
Earlier whilst blaming the privatisation of state institutions for the prevailing fuel shortage, Minister Ranatunga went on to tell the media that the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) was not honouring the conditions of its agreement with the CPC.
“The LIOC had promised to send a fresh stock of petrol by Oct. 31 or Nov. 1 after its petrol shipment had been found to be substandard,” Ranatunga said, noting that the LIOC had not honoured its obligation.
However contradicting his own statement earlier, Minister Ranatunga then went on to say yesterday that whilst Sri Lanka’s daily consumption is 1800 to 2000 metric tons, a total of 2623 metric tons were supplied island wide on Monday and a further 3000 metric tons were distributed on Tuesday. The Minister confirmed that another 3000 metric tons of fuel was to be supplied to the people today as well.
“The LIOC caters to only 16% of the Sri Lankan market, so what has happened to the balance supply of 84% ? Minister Ranatunga is simply attempting to mislead the public by making such statements. Instead of blaming others he should improve his own performance as he is the one responsible for this crisis. It was his inability to perform in this role. He should resign immediately” an angry citizen who stood for hours in a petrol queue told Colombo Telegraph.
Meanwhile the LIOC has denied any responsibility to the ongoing petroleum crisis.
Issuing a statement the LIOC said: “As a reliable distributor of petroleum products in Sri Lanka over many years, LIOC is making all efforts to assist in the early resolution of this problem. However, attempts by some to blame LIOC for causing the shortage are mischievous and factually incorrect, and we categorically reject such allegations”.
The LIOC said it catered to only 16 per cent of the Sri Lankan market, while the remaining 84 per cent relied on Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) supplies. “Thus, large shortages across the country can only be caused by disruption in supplies of CPC (the Sri Lankan government petroleum entity),” the statement said. “It may be noted that LIOC has adequate stocks…and normal daily diesel sales of 775 MT is continuously happening from all our sheds across the country. It is total misrepresentation of facts that diesel is not being sold by LIOC sheds,” the statement said.
There have been winding queues near fuel stations all over the country during the last couple of days due to the petrol crunch.
While promising that the current petrol crisis will be probed as to who caused it, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament he could not agree with the criticism heaped on the LIOC for the crisis.
Meanwhile according to Sri Lanka’s pioneering MP Monitoring Website (Manthri.lk), run by Colombo based think-tank Verite Research, the Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga had participated 59 times in parliament and only participated in 7 topics.
On the contrary JVP Leader and Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake leads the rankings whilst Minister Arjuna Ranatunga is currently ranked 95.
This statistic clearly proves that Minister Ranatunga is a poor performer. (By Manisha Unantenne)