Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Arjuna Ranatunga said that the fuel problem can be solved completely by the 09th of this month.
Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo today the Minister said that a ship carrying fuel is due to dock on Wednesday and the distribution of its fuel can commence on Thursday.
He pointed out that the reason for the present crisis is because the Lanka Indian Oil Company rejecting a substandard fuel shipment arrived in the country. He said even though the ship with the substandard fuel stock is currently being anchored off Trincomalee, the government has no plans to unload the substandard fuel.
The Minister claimed that there are attempts to unload the ship and some politicians and businessmen are influencing to take delivery of the substandard fuel shipment that was rejected by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. However, the President and the Prime Minister have advised him to do take the right decision, he said.
Apologizing to the people for the inconvenience caused as the minister in charge of the subject, Ranatunga said a far worse crisis would have been created than a fuel shortage if the substandard fuel had been purchased and released to the market.
The Minister said the next ship is due on the night of the 8th (Wednesday). The CPC is tracking the vessel closely and all relevant staff is on standby to immediately receive the shipment and commence distribution on the 9th.
He said the reason for the crisis is the rumors spread unnecessarily that there was a shortage of fuel. He attributed the shortage to panic buying and said there are sufficient stocks of fuel in the storage to meet the demand until the next shipment arrives.
However, he said steps have been taken to issue 2500 metric tons of petrol daily.
The Minister requested the public to refrain from panic buying as there are sufficient stocks for the next few days and expressed hope that the problem could be resolved completely by Thursday.