May 14, Colombo: As soon as the fuel prices dropped in the world market, that concession will be given to the masses, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that since 2016 price of barrel of fuel in the world market has increased by 41 US dollars and therefore, the fuel prices in this country had to be raised.
This was stated by the Prime Minister addressing the people following the opening of the new building of Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretariat.
Explaining the government's decision to raise fuel prices, the Premier said previously, fuel prices changed concurrently with the fuel prices in the world market. However, during the previous regime, when the price of fuel in the world market increased, fuel prices in Sri Lanka were also raised but when the prices decreased in the world market, local prices were not reduced.
"Since we cannot control the fuel prices in the world market, the President Maithripala Sirisena and I have discussed that although the fuel prices were raised according to the prices in the world market, concession should be given to the people when the prices of fuel in the world market go down," he said.
The Premier further explained that in 2014 the price of a crude barrel dropped to US$ 55 but the prices did not drop in the country.
"However, after we came to power, the price of a liter of petrol was reduced to Rs. 117. Since the price of a crude barrel dropped to US$ 35 by the end of 2015, the Petroleum Corporation was able to reduce fuel prices in the country. But in 2017 the prices of crude started to rise and by the middle of the year price of a crude barrel rose to US$ 67 and by May 11 the price has gone up to US$ 77. Accordingly, the crude oil price has soared by about US$ 41 a barrel and we have to pay a massive sum of money for one crude barrel," the Premier said.
"It is more than double the 2015 price. As a result, we had to increase fuel prices," he noted.
Speaking of the kerosene prices, the Prime Minister said the there is a lot of controversy in the country regarding kerosene and prices but if the kerosene price is reduced, people will use kerosene instead of diesel for vehicles. Not only it will reduce diesel sales and the income but also will create problems for vehicles.
"However, we advised the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to supply kerosene at concessionary prices for fishermen and for families receiving Samurdhi benefits," the Premier said.
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has incurred losses since the Ceylon Electricity Board and SriLankan Airlines have not paid the dues for fuel amounting to Rs. 70 billion, the and it will be a big problem whether this money can be paid to CPC in a short time.
"This was why the government increased fuel prices as a measure to fill the gap of outstanding bills and to recover the loss crated by an increase in price in the world market," the Prime Minister added.