Picking Crumbs

Mar 07 (LBO) – The Treasury has settled Rs. 500 million in unpaid subsidy bills due to Lanka Indian Oil Corp., weeks after the company’s accounts took a hit to make provision for the unpaid claims. “We received a part payment of Rs. 500 million on March 01 from the Treasury,” K Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), told LBO on Tuesday.

The Treasury has settled Rs. 1.7 billion (US$ 17 million) to date, with an outstanding bill of Rs. 6.8 bn (US$ 68 million) to LIOC still to be settled.

“We are waiting for final resolution of the issue,” Ramakrishnan said.

Indian fuel retailer’s accounts took a hit last year, after providing Rs. 7 billion for subsidy claims that are also being disputed by the government.

The petroleum retailer posted a loss of Rs. 7.03 billion for the nine months ended December 2005, for selling fuel below cost.

The government’s privatisation arm the Public Reform Enterprise Commission (PERC) has contested the validity of the claim through a legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Dept.

LIOC has a 32 percent share of the retail fuel market, operating alongside state oil giant Ceypetco, as well as a 16 percent of the