Govt will ensure smooth supply of oil - Premajayantha
The government will have long term contracts with public
organizations of oil producing countries to ensure the smooth supply of
oil and avoid any shortage of petroleum products. Discussions will be
held within the next few weeks, said Petroleum Industries Minister Susil
Premajayantha during an interview with the Daily News.
Following is the full text of the
Q: What are your plans for the
Petroleum Industries Ministry for 2012 to push forward the Mahinda
Chinthanaya – Vision for the Future?
A: The Petroleum
Industries Ministry has plans for 2012 to push forward the Mahinda
Chinthanaya. There are two institutions under the purview of this
ministry. They are the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon
Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL).
Discussions are ongoing between the government and oil producing
foreign countries to obtain best rates for oil favourable to the
country. The government will have long term contracts with public
organizations of these countries to ensure the smooth supply and to
avoid any shortage of petroleum products. Discussions will be held
within the next few weeks.
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha
Employees welfare is one of the key areas that will receive special
attention this year. Their salaries will be increased this year.
More steps will be taken this year to ensure the smooth functioning
of the CPC and CPSTL. The salaries of CPC employees will be increased
this year. Arrears of previous salary increase will be given in five
installments. One installment has already been granted last year and the
balance four installments will be granted to them.
Work has commenced to expand the oil refinery in Sapugaskanda. We
have received many proposals. They will be evaluated by technical
experts and taken a decision to expand and refurbish the existing oil
refinery in Sapugaskanda. CPSTL is responsible for storing and
distributing petroleum products. It has four main storages. Currently,
ships discharge oil using the old pipeline from the Port to Kolonnawa.
Laying of the new pipeline between Port and Kolonnawa will commence in
the first quarter of this year. It is planned to complete the project
After completion, we can stop leakages and discharge oil without any
delay. The capacity of regional storages and filling stations will be
increased to meet the demand. Distributing petroleum products from
Muthurajawela will be increased. The entire distribution network will be
Problems arose last year because many key positions in the CPC fell
vacant. I pointed this out during the last few months. A new full time
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a new financial controller and other key
officials will be appointed early this year to fill the vacancies in the
CPC. The entire management system of the CPC will be reorganized this
Q: Is there a possible fuel hike in
the near future?
A: At the moment there is
no decision to increase the price of fuel. But we cannot predict what
will happen in the world oil market when some countries impose sanctions
on Iran, one of the leading oil producing countries in the world. At
present, there is significant unrest in certain oil producing countries
in the Middle East.
Q: The LLRC report is now released
and also tabled in Parliament. Please comment.
A: A majority of Sri
Lankans, including religious dignitaries, scholars etc. commended the
LLRC report. This report is an eyeopener to some international
organizations which made comments against the LLRC prematurely. The
government will take necessary action to implement the recommendations
made by the LLRC report.
Q: The JVP has divided into two
pieces now. What do you think about this split?
A: The JVP split is
natural. After the 1971 and 1989 insurgencies, the JVP started to expand
its political activities within a democratic framework. As a result, the
JVP played a key role to defeat the UNP and form the UPFA. But now with
its split, one faction is trying to improve their political activities
outside the democratic framework and it may be a repetition of 1971 and
1989. But the vast majority of the country will reject it.
Q: The UNP crisis is getting more and
more complicated. What will be the future of the UNP?
A: The UNP is in a very
pathetic situation today. We had some problems when we were in the
Opposition for 17 years. But we gradually reformed and reorganized the
party and came into power in 1994.
There is no shortcut to come to power. Some politicians in the UNP
want to come to power immediately. But none of these politicians tried
to obtain power while President Mahinda Rajapaksa fought with the LTTE
during the 2005 -2009 period. None of them helped the government. They
criticized the leadership and the process and indirectly helped some
international organizations to act against the government. After
defeating the LTTE, they are now eager to come to power.
The people of Sri Lanka know these facts. During the last Local
Government polls, the people gave a 5/6 majority to the UPFA. Voters
from cities, urban areas, villages and elsewhere voted for the UPFA and
strengthened the hands of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UPFA
Q: As a former Education and Higher
Education Minister what do you have to say about the recent issue on
Advanced Level Examination results?
A: According to the
available information I do not see any issue regarding paper marking and
the results. The issue is in connection with what happened while trying
to link the z-score for two examinations and preparing ranks. According
to my knowledge, around 50,000 students who sat for this exam have
already applied for university entrance.
A special committee has already been appointed to look into the
matter and their report will be handed over to the President in the next
few days. In future, the Examinations Department should release the
results after making sure that there is a 100 percent accuracy of
results. This applies for all the examinations and not only for the
Advanced Level examination.
Q: Do you have any message for the
A: Usually from time to
time, issues arise in a specific field. But there are solutions for all
these issues. Nobody can mislead the public because of one particular
issue. During elections, the people take a decision only after carefully
analyzing the entire situation instead of one or two issues.
Some politicians comment on some issues totally forgetting the
history of the country. Therefore, it is the duty of the citizens to
think and analyze carefully before taking a decision on such comments.
If President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not elected as the President of
Sri Lanka in 2005 where do we stand today? It is same in the future. If
we do not get a strong and stable leadership in the future, the country
will not be able to achieve rapid development and maintain peace. This
is the message I want to send to the Sri Lankan public.