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Govt launches US dollar pre-paid fuel card to tourists

The Dialog Axiata said it had partnered with Sampath Bank to launch a US dollar pre-paid fuel card to tourists which can top up to a maximum of 300 US dollars and use to pump fuel as the country grapples with a severe currency crisis.Sri Lanka is suffering the worst bout of monetary instability in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank whose rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to the US dollar in a botched float after two years of money printing.Forex shortages had led to fuel shortages.

Tourists with “accepted foreign currency” (paper money issued by foreign central banks which are widely accepted in Sri Lanka due to be being well-anchored) can top up the card with a minimum of 50 dollars.The platform was developed by Sri Lanka based MilleniumIT ESP.

The cards can be purchased from 229 Sampath Bank outlets and at the airport and will be valid for two years. Lost or damaged cards can be replaced at Sampath Bank branches.Tourists can access https://fuelpass.gov.lk/touristpass for information or contact a24-hour hotline on 1393 for any queries, Dialog said.Initially fuel will be available at 300 Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Lanka IOC filling stations. The network will be expanded to 500 outlets by end October.

“We are pleased to introduce the Tourist Fuel Pass (TFP) to encourage overseas visitors to Sri Lanka who may be concerned about availability of fuel for their travel within the country,” Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said in the statement

“The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to creating a safe and comfortable environment for all visitors to our beautiful country and the launch of TFP is one such initiative in that direction”.

Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata said the TFC was a “collaboration with the private sector to utilize digital platforms that would overcome challenges and accelerate growth.”

“With the influx of visitors arriving in the country following the tourist season, I am pleased to see initiatives of this nature come to fruition,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said.

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