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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Amending Ceylon Petroleum Act a threat to national security – Vijitha Herath

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The Government’s move to amend the Ceylon Petroleum Act by breaking the CPC’s monopoly, would pose a threat to national security, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath told a news conference that the energy sector of a country is a part of its national security and allowing companies to overpower the state- owned entity was a serious matter.

“This would put our national security in danger. A company can stop functioning a country. This is a serious situation,” he said.

MP Herath said even though Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila claimed that the Act was amended to bring in an investment of US$ 3 billion, the government had other motives.

“If the government is really wants to bring in an investment, why is it in such a great hurry to amend the Act? Even the feasibility study has not been done as yet. It takes at least a year to do the feasibility study and call for international bids. It is doubtful as to why the Act is amended before all,” he asked.

He said the CPC is debt-ridden and not in a position even to import crude oil at the moment.

“The CPC was a profitable venture in the past. It purchased three vessels from its income. The CPC ows US$ 3,300 million to the Peoples Bank and the Bank of Ceylon today. The Government is going to sell off this asset as well,” he said.

He also said another motive behind the amendment of the Act was to take over all the powers under the Minister so as to extend the licence of the Indian Oil Company (IOC) which was due to end in 2023.

“The licence of the IOC expires on December, 31, 2023. The Minister cannot extend its licence with the current Act. That is why he is trying to amend the Act,” he said.

The JVP parliamentarian also said the minister would have authority to give permits to any company, even multinational companies to join our oil refining and transport after amending the Act.

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