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PARLIAMENT

President’s commitment to increase Renewable Energy commendable State Minister Duminda

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s stern commitment to increase the ratio of Renewable Energy to 70 per cent by 2030 is commendable, said Solar Power, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Minister Duminda Dissanayake yesterday.

The State Minister said that the President firmly adhered to this decision even the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) was reluctant in this regard. “However, if the country needs to develop and provide a long-term, uninterrupted and low-price power supply, it should focus only on renewable energy,” the State Minister said.

State Minister Duminda invited the Opposition and all political parties to get together, set up a Committee with representatives of all to make a National Policy, implement them and make the country self-sufficient with power.

The State Minister made these observations during the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals for 2022 under the Financial Heads of the Power Ministry, Energy Ministry and Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Ministry.

State Minister Dissanayake said r that the political tradition in Sri Lanka is when the parties in the Government attempted to work, those in the Opposition criticised and hindered them. This has been the practice by them since 1947 and therefore, the country has not developed. The State Minister suggested that all to get together and work for the betterment of the people.

“With President Rajapaksa taking the leadership to increase the ratio of Renewable Energy to 70 per cent by 2030, we called tenders for over 50 mw and to our astonishment more than 600 investors have already applied,” the State Minister said. He added that the Opposition should see that such a large number of investors are ready to invest in Sri Lanka. “To open doors for them, we have to amend the laws if we failed to do it today, we will have to repent in future,” the State Minister said.

The State Minister added that as the Yugadanavi issue has been taken before Court, the Government is unable to make statements on them. State Minister Dissanayake said that the people have given power to this Government to break the mafia and not to make a fuss over it for long.

At this moment, Opposition MP Dr. Harsha de Silva inquired if the Government focused on exporting renewable energy to India.

State Minister Dissanayake said that not only to India but also to Singapore. He added that Singapore is ready to get our renewable energy. The State Minister said that the Mannar Offshore Wind Power capacity is around 10,000 mw in addition to the inland capacity. The State Minister added that the discussions in this regard are in progress with the request of the Singapore Government.

The State Minister said that the CEB is ready to absorb renewable energy and all the required plans are being formulated to make it a reality.

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Power Ministry’s Financial Heads unacceptableSJB MP Attanayake

Grant of seven per cent for the Procurement Procedure, Operation Cost and Management Expenditure for obtaining USD 2.5 billion for purchasing fossil fuel for the Power Ministry is unacceptable as it is a huge amount, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake yesterday said.

The MP said that the seven per cent is nearly Rs. 35,000 million, and it is a huge amount of the people’s money.

MP Attanayake was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Financial Heads of the Power Ministry, Energy Ministry and Solar, Wind and the Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Ministry.

The MP also said that USD 2.5 billion is not only for the Power Ministry but should also be for the Government since the Minister earlier had asked for USD 1 billion through a Cabinet paper but later it had been amended to be USD 2.5 billion

He also said that if it was for the Government as well, who instructed the Subject Minister to amend the amount. The MP added that the Government agreed to get the money with an interest of 3 per cent, while the 7 per cent was for the procurement procedure, operation cost and management expenditure.

The MP also said that the agreements related to the Yugadanavi were suspicious as they could not agree with the estimation of the power plant. He added that 40 per cent is sold to the New Fortress Company. “Another issue is the grant of monopoly to import LPG for five years,” he said. The MP added that therefore, the Government will lose the control over power supply in the country including electricity.

The MP said that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is incurring a loss for over a decade continuously. The MP added that it was because of not only the waste and corruption but also the serious flaws in the policy decisions.

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Ministries must be properly allocatedVen. Rathana Thera

Our Power of People Party Parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said in Parliament yesterday that it is a matter of urgency to divide the Ministries properly so that they could function effectively.

The Thera added that this was the main reason for the Government’s crisis because there is no coordination between the relevant Ministries and institutions. Ven. Rathana Thera was participating in the Budget Committee Debate on the Power and Energy Ministry.

“Today the Agriculture Ministry is in one place, the Plantation Industry is in another place, the Mahaweli is in another place, fertilizer is made elsewhere and the Minister in another place. One doesn’t know the decisions made by each other,” the Thera added.Ven. Rathana Thera also said that the previous government divided Ministries in a complicated manner.

The Thera said that a serious question arises how to make the right decision and implement it when things are going this way. “An immediate solution is needed regarding the issue of gas tanks as well,” the Thera said.

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MP Dr. Harsha appreciates Government’s Renewable Energy Projects

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva commended the Government’s commitment to increase the ratio of Renewable Energy to 70 per cent by 2030 with the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Parliamentarian made this observation after making inquiries from Solar Power, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Minister Duminda Dissanayake while the latter was making the reply speech during the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Financial Heads of the Power Ministry, Energy Ministry and Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Ministry. MP Harsha de Silva said that the Opposition had no objection with the Government’s programme on the project.

When State Minister Dissanayake said that the Government called tenders for over 50 mw and more than 600 investors have already applied, MP Dr. Silva asked if all were coming to invest in the country to make the renewable energy ratio to 70 per cent. State Minister Dissanayake said that the country needs only 9,000 mw of renewable energy to reach the ratio, and they all have applied to invest and the Government has to select some of them to reach the goal with 1,000 mw per year.

When the MP Dr. Silva inquired if the Government could sell the energy to India, Minister Dissanayake said that not only India but even Singapore as well. He added that Singapore is ready to get our renewable energy. The State Minister said that the Mannar Offshore Wind Power capacity is around 10,000 mw in addition to the inland capacity.

When the Opposition MP inquired if the tenders were applied for onshore projects, the State Minister said that it was for both.

“We can extend the power lines to India but extending power lines to Singapore is not practical. Isn’t it?” inquired Harsha de Silva. “Yes, but we engage in discussions on the requests by the Singaporean Government,” State Minister Dissanayake said.

When Dr Harsha de Silva asked about the fruitfulness of the solar power park in isolated and far away areas like in Siyambalanduwa, State Minister Dissanayake said that there are proposals for three such parks. He added that it is not practical to bring these electricity parks to Colombo due to the high wastages. The State Minister added that there are plans to establish zones in those areas to attract foreign investors.

When the State Minister invited the Opposition to join and support the Government’s Renewable Energy Project, MP Dr. Silva said that they have no any objection on the project.

The State Minister added that the discussions are in progress in this regard with the request of the Singapore Government.

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High potential of petroleum reserves in Cauvery Basin and Jaffna Minister Gammanpila

There is a high probability of discovering commercial petroleum reserves in the Cauvery Basin and in Jaffna peninsula, Power and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said in Parliament yesterday (29).

Delivering the reply speech for the Committee Stage Debate on the Expenditure Head of the Power and Energy Ministry, Minister Gammanpila said that such discovery will be a turning point in the country’s history.

Minister Gammanpila said that in the next coming three months, the Government willconfirm this discovery, after analyzing the data collected.

The Minister also said that Sri Lanka lacked facilities to explore the shallow sea area for petroleum resources, however, along with the support of a USA company, the explorations are in progress.

“According to these researches, not only in the shallow sea areas of Cauvery Basin, there is also a high probability in discovering petroleum reserves in Jaffna peninsula. In the next three months, we will confirm this discovery. We were not able to explore shallow sea areas for oil reserves as we had no facilities to carry out them. These researches were conducted with American support and the Sri Lankan Government did not have to spend funds on it. The Government’s move to pass the Petroleum Resource Bill, which provided for the establishment of the Petroleum Development Authority, has been extremely helpful to fine-tune the exploration, development, production and management of petroleum resources in Sri Lanka and has paved the way for the new discovery as well,” Minister Gammanpila said.

Minister Gammanpila requested the Opposition to support the Government in this regard and said that discovering and extracting these resources and rebooting Sri Lanka’s economy is not a political party goal, but a great endeavour.

The Minister also said that the Opposition was waiting for the collapse in fuel supply as many foreign countries were going through a similar crisis.

“The Government successfully continued the fuel supply despite many challenges such as decline in foreign reserves. However, the Government maintained an undisturbed fuel supply, destroying the dreams of the Opposition. When the media spread rumours on a possible fuel shortage, it is only natural for people to stock fuel.

When the whole population does that, a fuel shortage is obvious and it causes long lines. With all these difficulties, we successfully provided fuel and 2021 has been a challenging but a very successful year for our Power and Energy Ministry,” Minister Gammanpila said.

Minister Gammanpila said that many MPs of the Opposition are spreading falsehood. Gammanpila said that it is difficult to obtain new loans considering the dollar crisis faced by the country. The Opposition has levelled a number of allegations on attempts to obtain dollar loans at low interest rates, and on calling for tenders in this regard, Gammanpila said.

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CPC may lose monopoly of importing oil NPP leader Anura Kumara

Sri Lanka may lose its State monopoly of importing oil, which will jeopardize the country’s national security and sovereignty, National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Dissanayake said in Parliament yesterday (29).

“None of the political parties that ruled the country can be proud of the way they have managed the country and its public finance,” NPP leader Dissanayake said.

NPP leader Dissanayake was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget 2022.

“If there is anything these groups could do, that would be to hug each other and cry for what they have done to this country,” NPP leader Dissanayake said.

“Today the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes USD 3,400 million to the People’s Bank and the Bank of Ceylon. It is sad to say that we have an internationally bankrupt oil corporation,” NPP leader Dissanayake said.

“Our CPC should have a monopoly in importing oil to the country. The national security of our country largely depends on it. These gentlemen who only pretend to be patriots are now working to break the State monopoly in importing oil,” NPP leader Dissanayake said.

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Higher power capacity should be provided for booming Export IndustriesMP Rathnasekara

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Kurunegala District Parliamentarian B. Y. G. Rathnasekara yesterday suggested the Government provide a higher electricity capacity as a number of export related industries are booming in the area.

The MP said that the Government has granted various machines to the people to initiate industries in their areas under the Jeewanopaya Project, and they find it difficult to use them with the provision of the low electricity capacity.

The Parliamentarian was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Financial Heads of the Power Ministry, Energy Ministry and Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development State Ministry.

The MP also said that the Government’s attempt to get fuel and LPG from the Sri Lankan soil is commendable at a time the world is facing an energy crisis and predicted the fossil foil would last until 2050 amidst the negative remarks of many including the Opposition. He said that the country has been researching since 1960’s to find fossil fuel.

“If the Good Governance Government made a remarkable management, they could have made the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) profitable but by 2019, the CEB incurred a loss of Rs. 85,411 million. However this Government reduced the loss to Rs. 62,500 million by 2020,” the MP said.


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