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* Sri Lanka government reduces allowances for legislators, slashes fuel prices
Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 19:19 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 30, Colombo: In a strong move to cut cost of living and strengthen the economy Sri Lanka government has slashed prices of fuel and reduced the allowances received by the legislators including the President.

In a special Cabinet meeting summoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss the burning issues regarding the cost of the living for the next year, the Cabinet decided today to bring down the prices of gas and several petroleum products Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives, Bandula Gunawardena announced in a special media briefing held a short while ago at the Government Information Department.

The government has decided to cut the costs of all state institutions by 5%, the expenses of MPs and ministers by 5% each. The expenses of the Prime Minister and President will be reduced by15% each, and the housing allowance of all MPs will be slashed by 50%.

To ease the burden on fuel and energy costs the price Laughfs Gas was reduced by Rs. 276, Shell Gas by Rs. 166, Petrol by Rs. 2.00, Kerosene by Rs. 10, Diesel by Rs. 10 and Furnace Oil by Rs. 10.

The administration has decided to introduce a coupon system for three-wheel operators to receive up to 4 liters of petrol to each three-wheeler at Rs. 20 less than the regular price for a maximum allowance of 75 liters a month.

To address the issues faced by the tea industry the government has set a guaranteed price of Rs. 45 per kilogram of tea leaves while a minimum price of Rs. 150 per kilogram of rubber has been set. Also, a fertilizer subsidy has been approved for tea growers whereby they can purchase mixed-fertilizer at the rate of Rs. 1000 per 50kg and the cess for rubber imports has been raised to 15%.

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