petrol, UNF predicts diesel hike next month
By Mahangu Weerasinghe
Friday's surprise petrol price hike of Rs. 8 a litre
- the highest in recent years - has triggered a chain reaction starting
with an increase in three-wheeler charges.
Sunday Times learns that while the government allowed the Ceylon
Petroleum Corporation to increase the price of petrol, proposals
to increase the price of diesel by Rs. 6 a litre and kerosene by
Rs. 2 were turned down in an apparent bid to prevent a massive escalation
in the cost of living.
the first reaction the main opposition UNF described the petrol
price hike as drastic and said it was a consequence of the government's
political agenda. "The government wanted to keep fuel prices
under control until the Provincial Council elections. The narrow
political scheme will cause serious problems for the people,"
former deputy finance minister Bandula Gunewardene said.
said the UPFA government had plunged the country into an economic
crisis and the Treasury could no longer bear the burden of a massive
fuel subsidy. Mr. Gunewardene said that though the government had
delayed a diesel and kerosene price hike for political mileage,
it was inevitable and could come by next month.
before the Petrol prices were increased Treasury Secretary Dr. P.
B. Jayasundara said that fuel subsidies could not go on forever.
The increase came despite repeated denials by the UPFA government
that it would be forced to increase fuel prices soon after the provincial
and Energy Minister Susil Premajayanth was among those who insisted
that there would be no fuel price hike. Friday's petrol hike based
on a monthly pricing formula is also still less than required, a
CPC official said. He said if the formula was strictly followed
the actual revisions would be Rs. 9 for petrol, Rs. 10.50 for diesel
and Rs. 10 for kerosene.