With 40,000 MT of fuel from India, SL seeks to reduce power outage to 2 hours
Reliving thousands of people queuing at gas stations across the country and those hit by 1 p.m. power cuts, 40,000 tonnes of diesel under India’s $500m credit line arrived at the port of Colombo Saturday.
As the cargo arrived, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) announced that the 1 p.m. power cuts would now be reduced to nearly 2 a.m. from Sunday.
Electricity generation in Sri Lanka is primarily fuel dependent and all but two plants have been shut down due to lack of diesel. For days, the country’s economy suffered from the lack of freight transport, while mechanized farming and fishing came to a standstill without diesel at gas stations.
The fourth shipment under India’s fuel line of credit follows three previous deliveries on March 16, 20 and 23. Over the past 50 days, India has supplied Sri Lanka with almost 200,000 MT, including a shipment of 40,000 MT by Indian Oil Corporation outside the line. credit facility in February 2022.
“Given the urgent nature of Sri Lanka’s needs, India has worked overtime to finalize and rapidly implement the two lines of credit within weeks,” the Indian High Commission said.
Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay who visited the port of Colombo observed that the fuel deliveries are a concrete manifestation of India’s commitment to the people of Sri Lanka in the current circumstances, in accordance to its “neighbours first” policy.
Sri Lankan Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge, who came to the port to welcome the cargo, thanked India for its help at a critical time.
Previously, the Export Import Bank of India and the government of Sri Lanka signed a $500 million line of credit agreement on February 2 for the purchase of petroleum products.
The agreement was signed by Treasury Secretary SR Attygalle on the Sri Lankan side and EXIM Bank Managing Director Gaurav Bhandari on the Indian side.
“In response to a separate and urgent request from the Sri Lankan government, the extension of a $1 billion credit facility for the supply of essential items, including food and medicine, has been finalized and the first shipments of rice under this facility are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka soon,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
Earlier in January this year, India had provided financial assistance to Sri Lanka which included a $400 million credit swap and the deferral of a payment of over $515 million by the Asian Clearing Union. . In cumulative terms, Indian support to the people of Sri Lanka in the first quarter of 2022 exceeds $2.5 billion, the high commission added.
The High Commission also noted that the Indian government continues to encourage medium to long-term capacity building efforts through increased Indian investment in Sri Lanka in key sectors such as ports, renewable energy, manufacturing, etc.
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