Written by Staff Writer
15 Oct, 2018 | 8:38 pm
Colombo (News1st) – The monthly rise in petrol and diesel prices following the introduction of a pricing formula continues to draw the ire of the general public. Today, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sought to explain the pricing formula which has confused his own Finance Minister.
The Prime Minister explained that fuel prices be it Petrol, Diesel or Kerosene fluctuate every day. He noted that while some countries have adopted methodologies to change petrol prices on a daily or weekly basis, Sri Lanka has opted to adopt a monthly methodology due to the lack of expertise to implement a daily system. The premier hinted that they eventually hope to switch to a weekly price revision method.
Commenting on the fuel price formula itself, the premier stated that the price formula is not a complicated one. He explained that the formula includes a number of components including operational cost, unloading cost, costs for the jerry and the pipeline, cost for oil that evaporates, transportation charges, sales charges, administration charges, storage charges, dealers charges in addition to customs tariffs, and other fees. Wickremesinghe went onto state that there are people who say the formula is wrong, and followed that up with this bizarre statement, “I do not know about the formula.”
Recently, the Finance Minister offered a contrasting interpretation of the pricing formula, he noted that even he does not understand the price formula and that the officials who make the formula would explain it to the public.
Why did the government have to introduce a pricing formula for fuel?
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has continuously suffered losses as a result of supplying fuel free of charge to other government institutions and enterprises. These public institutions are indebted to CEYPETCO to the tune of about 13 billion rupees. The Ceylon Electricity Board and SriLankan Airlines alone, owe CEYPETCO more than 12 billion rupees. It was the Prime Minister himself that appointed Suren Ratwatte, the brother of his friend Charitha Ratwatte, as the CEO of SriLankan Airlines.
Whilst the Norochcholair Power Plant suffers intermittent breakdowns on a regular basis throughout the year, an energy mafia continues to delay the adoption of renewable energy and keeps advancing the interests of privately owned diesel power plants. Amidst their continued losses, CEYPETCO says they cannot run the corporation if these debts are not repaid.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank Bond scam triggered a major economic crisis. The scam resulted in an increase in interest rates which in turn put undue pressure on the economy. Incidentally, the bond scam also transpired when the Prime Minister’s friend Arjuna Mahendran was appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank.
The Prime Minister’s close friend and confidante Malik Samarawickrema has been entrusted the duty of attracting foreign investment to the country. Aside from the revenue that was earned through the sale of the Hambantota port, Samarawickrema has been unable to attract any major foreign direct investment to the country over the past 3 years.
Eventually, the country was forced to kneel before the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Under the instructions of the IMF, the government has been left with no alternative but to sell off state assets under the guise of restructuring public institutions and enterprises.
It is also no secret that the fuel pricing formula too was introduced on the instructions of the IMF.
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