Speaking to Daily Mirror, LAUGFS Deputy Chairman U.K. Thilak De Silva said they had been compelled to stop imports due to two main reasons like difficulties faced in opening Letters of Credit (LCs) and severe shortage of foreign currency with the banks.
“We were asking for a price increase of gas cylinder from the previous government (Yahapalanaya) as the world market price was going up. However, instead of giving price increase, they reduced prices making LAUGFS incur heavy losses,” De Silva said.
“Over a period of time, we were lobbying with the Yahapalanaya Government on this matter. However, the matter was not addressed. Subsequently, we kept on selling gas cylinders thinking that this Government, which came into power in 2019 would adjust and address the matter. They also have failed to address the issue yet,” De Silva added.
“Owing to this situation, we lost about Rs 5.3 billion. Accordingly, we are losing Rs. 750 per gas as of now. Against this backdrop, the banks are scared to open Letters of Credit (LCs) when the companies were incurring huge losses. In addition, there is a severe shortage of foreign currency with the banks,” De Silva underlined.
“Due to these two reasons, we are unable to service our customers at the moment,” he added.
“As far as the issue is addressed, we will have to suspend the imports. However, no sooner the issue is addressed, we will be restarting our businesses as usual,” he added.
He also conveyed his apology to the customers. “This is no fault of ours. It is beyond our control,” he added.
When asked whether there could be a gas shortage, the Deputy Chairman said though there is no shortage of gas at the moment, there could be a shortage until such time this issue is addressed.