COLOMBO (News 1st): The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has decided to obtain a commercial loan of $ 2.5 billion from the international market, which experts claim is the largest commercial loan the country has taken, to overcome the financial crisis.
Several parties have expressed the idea about the relevant loan, including the State Minister of Finance, the CPC Chairman and CPC union representatives.
The Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Attorney at Law Sumith Wijesinghe says that the corporation has received a positive response from the international market for obtaining the loan.
He stated that as the CPC has taken loans from Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank over the recent years, the loan had amounted up to nearly $ 2.5 billion to $ 3 billion, and the interest paid for the relevant loans also being high. Therefore, the required amount of funds can be obtained from the international market as the petroleum industry is a necessity to the country.
According to the Sunday Times, the Cabinet approved the loan after studying several requests made by representatives of pension funds and insurance companies in the United States and several European countries.
Accordingly, the loan repayment period which is expected to be obtained with a grace period of two years is 12 years.
The former State Minister of Finance, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that he is yet to study the issue. He added that he will be taking time to study the issue after he takes up the position of the CBSL Governor, and will be making a decision about the relevant issue afterwards.
The Petroleum Unions allege that the authorities are taking steps to bring the CPC down by obtaining the loan.
Samika Asitanja the Chairman of the Petroleum Corporation National Employees Union says that the union has neither been informed of the relevant loan, nor the possibility of obtaining a petroleum contract from another country.
” Despite such a situation, it is not appropriate for the Government to evade the Minister of Finance and the Treasury and direct the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to obtain this loan. We doubt whether the hasty amendment of the Petroleum Corporation Act is an opportunity to provide these conditions.” He said.
Meanwhile Ashoka Ranwala, the President of the Petroleum General Employees Union said that the Government should bear responsibility for this issue.
” We state very clearly that if the Petroleum Corporation falls into a debt trap of such a large amount of dollars, there is a danger of this Petroleum Corporation being wiped out in a very short period of time. I respectfully request the Government not to bring down the Petroleum Corporation to this tragedy.” Ranwala added.