price hikes and consumer heartburn
By Asif Fuard
In the wake of last Sunday's fuel price increase
– the second to be effected in just 31 days – food,
hardware, building material, clothing and transport are among some
of the main sectors bound to see price increases in the next few
ambulance services and police patrolling were expected to suffer
due to the unexpected fuel hike so soon after the previous increase.
With the government increasing the price of petrol, diesel, kerosene
and furnace oil, the transport sector has been directly affected
and this has indirectly impacted on the prices of vegetables, coconuts
and fish. Many eating-houses too have raised prices of the food
Sunday's fuel hike saw the price of petrol being increased by Rs.
6, diesel by Rs. 4, kerosene by Rs. 2 and furnace oil by Rs. 2.
Comparing last Sunday's price increases with that of May 5, petrol
has increased by Rs. 10 and diesel by Rs. 8 within one month.
usual when prices are increased it is the families of low-income
groups or those with no fixed incomes who are bound to suffer the
most and this time too they are dealt a severe blow with the price
of kerosene going up by Rs. 2.
to the revised prices, Lanka Petrol 90 Octane will be sold at Rs.
80.00 a litre, Lanka Petrol 95 Octane at Rs. 83.00, Lanka Auto Diesel
at Rs. 50.00, Lanka Super Diesel at Rs. 55.30, Lanka Kerosene at
Rs. 30.50, Lanka Furnace Oil 1500 Sec. at Rs. 30.30 and Lanka Furnace
Oil 3500 Sec. at Rs. 28.00.
one of the sectors affected a result of the increase in diesel prices
has already passed the buck to the commuters with the private bus
owners association already effecting an increase in bus fares by
Private Bus Owners’ Association president Gemunu Wijeratne
told The Sunday Times the increase in fuel costs is the highest
when compared to other increases and if the bus fares were not immediately
increased it would have been near impossible to staunch a breakdown
in the transport industry.
we don't increase the bus fares we will be operating at a severe
loss and we would have been forced to cut down the number of turns
a private bus does each day," he said.
problems caused by the fuel price increase is bound to play a major
part in rural hospitals since most of these hospitals would end
up reducing by half the ambulance service they provide since it
would be too expensive to run a normal ambulance service. Some hospitals
have even gone to the extent of refusing to ask for more ambulances
as the cost of operating them would mean an additional drain on
the budgets of the rural hospitals.
Hospital Director Dr. S. Wickremasinghe said in case of a power
failure they would have to think twice before using the diesel-powered
generator as the fuel quota given to the hospitals was insufficient.
fall-out is that most hardware store owners say they will have to
raise the prices of items such as cement, sand, bricks, metal and
iron rods. It is learnt that hardware stores situated in the south
and east will be badly affected since most of them complain that
it is because of increased transport costs they increase the prices
of their goods and now with the new prices they would have to raise
hardware store owner in the south K. Ranaweera said he was operating
at a loss because the recent increase in fuel prices has added to
his already heavy burden. "Since the fuel prices has shot up
people like us in the south have to suffer. The situation is worse
in many rural areas since they have to pay more to transport hardware
items. I am forced to cut down on stocks of some goods now",
of vegetables have also increased prices blaming it on the diesel
price hike. The price of an already expensive coconut has risen
further by another Rs. 2. Those who transport coconut from Kuliyapitiya
to Colombo say that they will have to shorten the distances to save
owners of vans transporting office staff are planning on stopping
their services as they find it extremely difficult to operate. Sunanda
Perera who owns five vans and operates a transport service said
that he would close down and operate a driving school instead as
he is finding it hard to cope with the rising fuel prices.
spend between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 a month only on fuel and
now it will increase. That's why I decided to operate a driving
school instead", he said.