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40,000 MT of diesel under the $500 million Indian Line of Credit landed at the Colombo harbour on Saturday, bringing relief to thousands of people who had been waiting in lines at gasoline stations around the country and those who had been without power for 13 hours (April 2).
As soon as the shipment arrived, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) declared that the 13-hour power outages will be cut in half starting Sunday.
Due to a scarcity of diesel, all but two of Sri Lanka’s power plants have been shut down due to a lack of fuel. The country’s economy has been suffering for days due to a lack of goods transportation, while mechanised farming and fishing have come to a halt due to a scarcity of diesel in the fuel stations.
After three prior deliveries on March 16, 20, and 23, the fourth cargo under the gasoline Line of Credit from India arrived. India has provided Sri Lanka with approximately 200,000 MT in the last 50 days, including a cargo of 40,000 MT by Indian Oil Corporation in February 2022, which was not covered by the line of credit facility.
“In light of Sri Lanka’s pressing needs, India went above and beyond to finalise and implement both lines of credit within weeks,” the Indian High Commission said.
The fuel deliveries are a tangible demonstration of India’s commitment to the people of Sri Lanka in the current circumstances, according to Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, who visited the Colombo harbour.
Gamini Lokuge, Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister, praised India for assisting at a vital time during his visit to the port to greet the shipment.
On February 2, the Export-Import Bank of India and the Sri Lankan government inked a $500 million Line of Credit Agreement for the purchase of petroleum products.
S.R. Attygalle, Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary, and Gaurav Bhandari, India’s Chief General Manager of EXIM Bank, inked the deal.
“Extension of a credit facility of $1 billion for supply of essential items, including food and medicines, has been finalised in response to a separate and urgent request from the Government of Sri Lanka, and the first shipments of rice under this facility is expected to reach Sri Lanka soon,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
India had previously provided financial support to Sri Lanka in January of this year, including a $400 million credit swap and the deferral of a $515 million Asian Clearing Union payment. According to the High Commission, India has provided more than $2.5 billion in aid to the people of Sri Lanka in the first quarter of 2022.
The High Commission also stated that the Indian government continues to support efforts to build medium- to long-term capacity in Sri Lanka through increased Indian investment in important sectors such as ports, renewable energy, and manufacturing.