Government increases prices of commodities and services before budget

Government increases prices of commodities and services before budget

Written by Staff Writer

19 Sep, 2018 | 8:44 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – A decision has been reached to increase bus fares by 4% with effect from midnight tonight (September 20)

Discussions on the increase of bus fares in line with the increase in fuel prices were held at the Ministry of Transport on Wednesday (September 19) and it was attended by Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala De Silva and various other representatives of bus associations.

The Minister stated that although bus fares would increase by 4% the minimum fare of Rs. 12 would remain unchanged. The Minister added that continuous discussions with trade unions on formulating a price formula for bus fares in line with the diesel price changes is unnecessary as such a formula already exists.

Chairman of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association, Gemunu Wijerathne believes that the fuel pricing formula has had an adverse impact on the country.

A pricing formula had been introduced by the government for the monthly revision of fuel prices and thus prices had escalated in the past two months.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Private Bus Owners Association, Anjana Priyanjith added that if the price of diesel increases by the 10th of October, bus fares will also increase in line with it. However, the National Transport Commission said that this price revision would not affect the prices of tickets of luxury buses and buses that operate along expressways.

Meanwhile, the import tax on a kilogram of sugar was increased by Rs. 18 from midnight yesterday (September 18) and the Ministry of Finance stated this will not affect the market price of sugar. In response to the price increase in the import tax for sugar, Chairman of the Sugar Importers Association, Hemaka Fernando stated that any kind of tax that the government decides to impose on them it would only affect the general public in return.

A price increase of Rs. 15 was enacted with immediate effect, and thus the wholesale price of sugar rose to Rs.105. The Association says that the retail price would at least increase up to Rs. 130.

Meanwhile, in addition, the Cost of Living Committee has decided to increase the price of a gas cylinder by Rs. 195.

In such a backdrop, the Government has decided to present the budget proposal for the financial year 2019 to the Parliament on the 5th of November. Previously it was notified that the budget is to be presented on the 8th of November. However, during the period in which the budget is being presented many important factors affecting people including fuel prices, various import taxes, income taxes, and bus fares are being amended and implemented.

After the budget proposal was presented last year, 19 supplementary estimates were presented for the allocation of additional funds. Last year, a supplementary estimate was presented while the budget debate was underway. During the period in which Ravi Karunanayake held the portfolio of Minister of Finance since 2015, 70 supplementary estimates were presented to parliament.

The Convenor of the Voice Against Corruption, Wasantha Samarasinghe stated that out of the 19 supplementary estimates 15 had been for the purpose of purchasing vehicles for Ministers and monitoring MP’s.

Samarasinghe also continued to say that although the current budget was passed indicating clearly the income, expenditure, the budget deficit and the method of taxation yet the government continuously increase the prices of fuel.

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