Whip cracked on CEB over Rs. 54 billion debt to CPC

The Ministry of Power and Energy has cracked a whip over the Ceylon Electricity Board over non-settlement of bills amounting to over Rs. 54 billion due to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for the supply of fuel to the CEB and West Coast Power (Pvt.) Ltd. (WCCPP).

The Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, Mr. M.M.C. Ferdinando, has threatened to invoke constitutional powers vested in him to direct the People’s Bank, the CEB’s bankers, to settle these bills through the CEB’s monthly revenue.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Resource Development is pushing the Power and Energy Ministry hard on these unsettled bills and Ferdinando wrote to CEB Chairman E.A.S.K. Edirisinghe a few days ago drawing attention to commitments made at various public fora about settling current dues starting from January 2009.

``As you have failed to honour the above commitment as the Chairman CEB, and continue to allow current dues to accumulate, thereby pushing the CPC into a huge liquidity crisis, I hereby instruct you to settle the current bills for supply of fuel by CPC to CEB and WCCPP without further delay,’’ Ferdinando has said in his May 18 letter.

He has said that if ``no satisfactory effort’’ is made by the CEB in this regard, he would have no choice but to invoke constitutional powers vested in him and request the Ministry of Finance and Planning to direct a standing order to the People’s Bank ``to settle all the dues to CPC for supplying fuel to the CEB and WCCPP through the monthly revenue of CEB without allowing the CEB to withdraw such money for expenses other than the payment of salaries and wages.’’

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