UNP claims government marked up fuel by 100 pc

By Lal Gunasekera

Colombo District UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake is of the opinion that a litre of petrol could be sold at Rs. 115 and that the price hikes, announced by the government, with effect from Saturday (23), are all due to corruption, mismanagement, waste, lavish spending etc.

Karunanayake told The Island yesterday (24) that the cumulative effect of all those had forced the government to increase the prices of petrol and diesel arbitrarily in a desperate bid to tide it over.

Karunanayake said that financial indiscipline was rampant and that was the reason for the government not accepting the loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after applying for it.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) were running at losses of Rs. 98 billion and Rs. 131 billion respectively and the IMF had told the government in 2009 to turn public establishments, running into bankruptcy, into profit making ones, the UNP Colombo North Organiser said.

Karunanayake said that only 40 to 50 per cent of the population used fuel and the others, too, had been forced to pay for the corruption and waste of the extravagant government. He said the fuel price hikes would also badly affect Sri Lanka’s garment, tea and ceramics industries in particular and their exports.

The people were still paying for the corrupt ‘hedging’ deal and inferior fuel imported into the country while corruption was going on unabated, Karunanayake alleged, stressing that the refined petrol was brought to the Colombo Port at Rs. 89. He said that petrol could be sold at Rs. 115 a litre and diesel and kerosene, too, could be sold at much lower prices.

Economist and UNP Parliamentarians Dr. Harsha de Silva is of the opinion that arbitrary fuel price hikes are unfair by the public at a time in the global market the prices are coming down.

He, too, reiterated that corruption and waste were continuing in the CPC and the government was still paying for the sub standard fuel imports. That was one instance of corruption which had contributed to the recent fuel hikes, he said.

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