By Dulasha Hettiarachchi
Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC (CLLP) Managing Director/CEO Kishu Gomes renewed his call for an effective regulator for Sri Lanka’s lubricants industry in his address to shareholders in the company’s latest annual report.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of an effective regulating authority so as to address the current pressing issues in the industry.
The current regulator lacks the necessary power and authority to implement many of the proposed changes, which would ensure a level-playing field for all the operators in the industry,” Gomes said.
In the previous year’s annual report Gomes said that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, which operates as the shadow regulator in the absence of a proper regulator, had
no adequate muscle to confront industry issues.
“In the absence of a regulatory body, it is the Petroleum Ministry that makes all the decisions. Therefore, it is the Petroleum Minister’s responsibility to look into this,” Gomes said in a brief telephone interview with Mirror Business.
He said the Petroleum Ministry has only been administering the lubricants industry rather than regulating it.
The call for an effective regulator comes in the wake of further issuance of licences to new players in a relatively small market.
Product adulteration in various forms and rebranding and distribution of products by non-licenced players are among the issues the industry is facing due to the lack of proper regulation.
“All big global and regional lubricant players have a presence in the Sri Lankan market with 13 players operating in a market that is relatively small with a potential of 55 million litres per annum,” Gomes said.
He also stressed on the need for proper independent laboratories in Sri Lanka to check the standards of the raw materials brought into the country for lubricant production.
“At least to randomly check the quality, there are no proper systems,” he stressed.
However, Gomes said the industry is hopeful that the government will prioritize the implementation of proposals by industry stakeholders in order to ensure that the rights of all players are protected.