Sri Lanka can’t afford enough fuel imports: Energy minister

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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 countries, but has yet to secure any aid apart from an existing deal with India, Wijesekera said Tuesday on the sidelines of the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi.

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

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 percent, and is also 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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