IOC cries out for relief

By Ifham Nizam

Indian Oil Company (IOC) Sri Lanka has once again requested the government to either increase fuel prices or give them a tax reduction.

They had separate meetings with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.

Both ministers asked for more time, while appreciating IOC’s role here.

Ministry officials told The Island that the government wouldn’t be in a position to take a decision till the energy pricing formula was introduced.  

The formula is expected to come into effect after September this year. 

IOC Sri Lanka Managing Director, Subodh Dakwale yesterday contacted for comment said discussions were on but nothing had come of them.

He said if the present situation continued they would take the matter up with the IOC Sri Lanka Board.

Dakwale said that, on their part, they often discussed energy conservation and on how to improve the quality.  

Earlier this month, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation recommended that the Power and Energy Ministry request the Treasury to consider a further tax reduction on fuel imports along with the forthcoming oil pricing formula. However, nothing concrete had taken place in this regard, an official said. 

Due to selling fuel below market price in keeping with government policy, IOC Sri Lanka had been suffering losses since the government ordered price reductions in fuel early this year, Dakwale said, adding that tax alone came to between 56 and 58 per cent of the cost of petrol which he called a huge by any means.

 Dakwale said they believed the proposed pricing formula had to be discussed along with duty reductions. "We have suggested now that the duty be reduced in a big way as we cannot increase the price of a litre of fuel," he added.

 Observers said the government was unlikely to agree to any fuel price revisions to appease both CPC and IOC till after the election.

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