May 31, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s ruling politicians are to come up with plans next week to reduce energy use, with the petroleum bill being identified as the biggest threat to the country, senior ministers said. Trade minister Bandula Gunewardene said the country last year spent 2.4 billion dollars on oil imports compared to 838 million in 2003.
This year the fuel bill was expected to be close to 3.5 billion dollars, he said. Government officials have claimed that the country is ‘spending valuable foreign exchange’ to import oil and it needs to be curbed.
Sri Lanka’s president has presented a paper to the cabinet of ministers and individual ministers have been encouraged to present proposals to mitigate the crisis at next week’s meeting, information minister Anura Yapa told reporters.
Earlier in the week transport minister Dallas Alahapperuma said 175,000 cars entered the capital Colombo each day, clogging roadways and using up fuel, and the government was planning ways to restrict their entry to the city.
Last year, state workers got 17,000 tax-slashed cars. Ministers get fully tax-free cars every few years.