Sri Lanka will not try forcible curbing of fuel use: minister

June 3, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will not try to impose laws on productive sectors of the economy to curb oil use, but is aiming to cut energy use in the state sector by about 20 percent, a government minister said. Siyambalapitiya said the trains, state buses and the military consumed substantial amounts of fuel.

State sector had about 15,000 vehicles he said. Recently state workers got 17,000 tax slashed cars.

Sri Lanka’s politicians and even some policy makers have the habit of pointing to oil imports for most of the country’s economic ills, including inflation and balance of payments troubles.

Both however are due to loose monetary policy, which have little to do with oil. In most years Sri Lanka’s capital imports have been higher than oil, but oil is usually blamed for foreign exchange shortages.

Senior minister said last week ministers have been asked to come up with ways to cut energy use by this week.

Oil is an intermediate input which is imported because it is cheaper that many alternative fuels. Energy use usually results in production many times its value.

“We will not try to force the private sector to cut petroleum use,” deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said

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